Esther, probably an australian cattle dog or perhaps a “blue heeler” mix, came into a shelter as a stray. She was adopted and then returned a few months later. Shelter staff noted some problems with her vision when she returned, and asked ODH to take her rather than risk another failed adoption’s stress. When she arrived at her ODH home it was clear that she was completely blind! Her foster mom and the resident dogs worked hard to help her adjust as she was quite worried about her new environment, and Esther made great strides. She went quickly to see an opthalmologist and had special testing to diagnose Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS); she most likely went blind VERY quickly while she was at the shelter – we can’t imagine how terrifying that must have been while in a stressful and confusing place. It’s a great credit to Esther (and her foster mom) that she managed to adjust and then thrive.
Esther has some disc damage in her back that gives her problems at times; we will treat that as long as we can keep her comfortable and mobile. She is a happy girl who likes to curl up with one of the other dogs, go for walks and explore the yard. She welcomed a new member of the pack who is also vision-limited and told him that this was a good place for dogs. Recently, her foster mom and the ophthalmologist decided that some of her vision may be returning!
We hope this tough and brave old lady has a lot of time ahead to be cherished in her ODH home.
Update from her Foster Mom: We learned so much from this special girl in the two years she was with us. She had a rough first 4-5 months while we figured out what was going on with her medically (although I dont thinkwe have ever really figured it out, shes been the mystery dog up until the end).
Then we had the most glorious year. She regained her vision! She had over 12+ months of sight thanks to Judith and Old Dog Haven. Can you imagine that gift, from fear, in the dark, returned to the shelter – to a home and health restored. I am so thankful. She ran in her yard, played fetch, wiggled on her back getting belly rubs down the hill in the yard, went to the beach, the park, spent time with family, and made best friends with a cat. And man, she
loves her best friend Phinney.
And I feel comforted that these past 3 months, as her health failed, she was taken care of in such depth by Old Dog Haven. There is no better gift than what was given her, and us. My thanks to Judith and Old Dog Haven for always treating her as an individual, and not just another face in the crowd. Thank you for always being there to listen, offer advice and support.
Today we celebrated Esther‘s 15th Birthday 2 weeks early. She ate the treats she picked out herself at MudBay, napped and patrolled her yard, tonight she rests. And tomorrow we ease her suffering. Thank you for this
opportunity to love her so very, very much.