Catching Up At Run A Muck Ranch: Gracie

With all the trials and tribulations with Vito, work, trying to get the new business going and life in general, I’ve let many a tale, status and update of the goings on here at The Ranch fall to the wayside.

One of the significant occurrences I never reported is that Gracie has gone blind.

Gracie is the product of a pairing between a dog and a goat, with a resulting offspring hooking up with a muppet.
Gracie is the product of a pairing between a dog and a goat, with one of the resulting offspring hooking up with a muppet.

We really weren’t surprised to hear the news.  Gracie never did have the greatest vision to begin with.  What did bother us quite a bit was that we didn’t even notice she lost what she had.  Gracie was getting her shots when the vet, who didn’t know her, asked if she had been blind her whole life.  She was completely and totally unresponsive visually during the exam and when he specifically looked at her eyes, he still couldn’t get a response.

Gracie is still Gracie whether she can see or not.
Gracie is still Gracie whether she can see or not.

Gracie has always had cataracts, but it wasn’t so bad that she couldn’t get around.  Sometimes they advance to a point and stop. Sometimes they blind.  Rather than doing surgery early on, we decided to take the wait and see approach.

Before you judge, consider this:  The consultation with the eye specialist is $125.  At that visit you are told to return for testing, which can run between $850 and $950.  From that testing it is then determined whether or not the $5500 cataract surgery is even a possibility.

When we were first told of Gracie’s cataracts years ago and we did that initial consultation with the specialist, I asked point-blank: Would waiting have any effect on the up or down vote that would result from the testing.  The answer was no.  If waiting would have no bearing on whether Gracie was a surgical candidate down the road, and since we didn’t happen to  have nearly $7000 at our disposal at the time, we opted against surgery and hoped for the best.

Blind dogs can still rock!!
Blind dogs can still rock!!

As luck would have it, we still don’t have nearly $7000 in the piggy bank for the surgery so there’s really nothing we can do.  That said, she WILL require additional vet visits during the year in addition to her annual checkups to make sure she doesn’t progress to glaucoma, an apparent possibility. If it gets to that point, we will take all necessary measures, even if it means I have to sell Crabby on street corners to get the money to treat the glaucoma.  There is no pain with cataracts, there is with glaucoma.

All that doom and gloom aside, there is a little snippet I wrote earlier that I’m not sure you paid attention to.  I said that we didn’t even notice Gracie had gone completely blind.  We’re not sure Gracie even noticed!  Other than minor bumps or stumbles, she hasn’t missed a beat:  Squeak a toy – she’s on it.  Take her for a walk – her nose is to the ground looking for hoo doos  and, assuming the pull of the smells aren’t too strong, she comes right to us when she’s called.    She has no problems finding Crabby or me around The Ranch, or finding Hector when she needs her face washed.  Her dinner dances remain at their historic levels and Lord knows she has no problems finding her dinner room or her bowl (or anyone else’s bowl for that matter)!

The way we see it, if Gracie doesn’t know she’s blind, we’re certainly not going to tell her!

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It’s the nose and not the eyes that make finds like this possible.

We will have to make certain changes when Sunday Family Desert Walk season starts again. Gracie, like the rest of the Nimwits, loves these outings and to deny her her most favorite of activities would be cruel.   So that she is not left out, she is either the only dog walking with either Crabby or me solo or if she goes with a group, Crabby and I both have to be present.  Morning or evening walks, regardless of number of people or dogs, are out of the question due to coyote threats. And of course, when the rains give us smelly water holes to swim in, we will keep a closer eye on her lest she get disoriented and swim too far out to the center.  Separate from that, I am looking into GPS locator collars, just in case.

Other than changes to her desert walks, Gracie’s life is no different now from the way it was before.  Well, that’s a fib.  Since hearing the news, she doesn’t have to wait for the full rotation before getting her couch or people bed time – she gets extras.   Even if we aren’t treating her differently doesn’t mean I can’t treat her differently!  (Moms understand)

So, bummer about Gracie’s eyes, but no worries about Gracie.   She has many, many more adventures to experience and share with you before she’s done.  She just won’t be able to describe them in living color.

Gracie was, is and will always remain - Perfect.
Gracie was, is and will always remain – Perfect.
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29 thoughts on “Catching Up At Run A Muck Ranch: Gracie

    1. Poor Gracie…so she’s blind. Blind dogs live out full lives all the time. A GPA tracker is a good idea. Also, you may want to see if one of the pups within the pack is ‘attached’ to her more so than the others, and teach him/her to “guide” Gracie. Put a blind lead on the seeing pup, and they will be attached and Gracie will be safe. Now the swims and water holes, no lead, too dangerous, but you know this. I’ll say a prayer every night that she doesn’t get glaucoma. Rock on Gracie (and parents).

      1. Chuckle… you assume ANY of our dogs think of anything but their own personal comfort 🙂 I don’t think that’s an option here.

  1. Agreed, she is still Gracie. The Man, as you know, was blind and we had lots of time with him. Sadly he had other problems but the blindness never seemed to faze him too much. He knew the layout and got around with out too much problem – except when Chienne got in his way and he head butted her. Oops..

    1. I’ve only heard of 1 case where a dog was effected, and in that one I sincerely believe it was more the projection of the person’s feelings on the dog.

      The Man is chasing squirrels, or whatever it is dogs down under chase, right now. I know he’s having a great time and he hasn’t forgotten you.

    1. We have everything we deserve: Gracie, Angus, Hector, DASH!, Franky, Sarah, Slugger, Emmi, Morty, Pablo, Willy, Gertie, Vito and Marcy 🙂

  2. Gracie sounds like an adaptive and smart pooch! That has a lot to do with her owners. 🙂
    I really appreciate this post as our newly adopted rescue is starting to develop cataracts as well. I’ve been struggling with the thought of paying that much money on a surgery that maybe hard for an elderly shihtzu mix to bounce back from. This was very validating and made me confident she will have a great quality of life as long as we provide her proper care.

    1. I have to be honest and admit Gracie came to us smarter than most people. Crabby found her on the side of a pre-dawn road and no one claimed her.

      I have a friend who only adopts dogs with ‘issues’. Deaf, blind and only 1 leg? That’s what she likes. She was our inspiration in not focusing on the handicap and instead focus on the dog. Her dogs, despite their handicaps acted like, well dogs. Who are we to tell them they’re anything different!

      As far as the cataracts – very difficult decision. I find it interesting that human cataract surgery is in the range of $700 per eye. I don’t understand how a dog could cost so much more! Just be sure to keep a close eye on your little one (no pun intended) for glaucoma.

      1. Our Syd seems to doing well too but I do worry about glaucoma. That is something our regular vet visits will detect if it happens. The cost of animal medicine vs human medicine seems quite large. Part of me always feels it is because humans are creatures of comfort and do not adapt well to these medical changes where dogs must adapt or be eaten/abandoned. Grizzly thought honestly.

  3. When Harley went blind over a span of time that might possibly have been short as two days (SARDS), it was a shock to all of us, even Harley. After a year has gone by I must say that I the problem with “adapting” has been more on my part rather that with Harley. He’s a little trooper. Although the lights went out very suddenly, with NO time to gradually adapt, he has done a lot better than I have. He still ‘looks” at me straight in the eye, still loves his belly rubs, and is still my best buddy. My biggest regret is that some of his previous joys are no longer available. So, we just do something else together. Now if we could just get his respiratory problems taken care of – – – – . In the meantime, we still have Harley, and that’s FAR better than the alternative.

  4. Happy is a dog that has no clue they have issues 🙂 and a happy healthy pup eating playing and enjoying life pain free and in safety needs no interference 🙂

  5. Blind and deaf dogs can lead a normal life. Dogs, unlike us humans, “see” their world with their noses, that is why when I am training a dog and a pet parent I always emphasize the importance of the dog’s sense of smell.

    1. My ‘brother’ dog went blind and I am still having to talk my parents, especially my father, off the ledge. Dad claims Harley (brother dog) is now handicapped. I say dad is projecting what he thinks Harley is feeling and then insisting it’s all Harley. Harley would be fine if he could just be allowed to continue to be Harley. Gracie should thank her lucky stars the problem isn’t genetic and for that reason she remains same old Gracie. Now… that’s not to say I don’t hover a little more now, but I still give her the room to find her own way in her condition.

      1. You are doing the right thing. Yes, you should watch over her a little bit more closely, but you still allow her to be her own self, which is the right balance. Also, yes, we pet parents, do project different emotions and fears and our dogs pick up on that which can be terrible. A fearful, nervous pet parent usually has a reactive dog.

      2. To stress the issue as to whether a blind dog is “handicapped” or not sort of misses the point as to what real issues really face a family facing the new realities that confront them in dealing with a blind dog. It may be convenient to make broad brush statements that essentially lump every individual situation into one basket for purposes of discussion, but in actual situations, that might lead to some problems. For instance, to totally equate Gracie’s situation with Harley’s situation, doesn’t allow a number of different factors to be considered. Using a cookie cutter approach would seem to be a bit over simplistic in what could be a complex situation. For instance, a gradual onset of blindness as opposed to a sudden loss of sight within a couple of days could lead to a significantly different reaction between the two dogs. To claim the situations should be the same might be compared to claiming that all dogs should be the same as to whether they might may or not react negatively to thunder. If you have ever witnessed a SARDS dog, I would think that you might see some actual differences in how such a dog might react as opposed to the reactions of a dog who gradually loses its sight and thereby has some gradual adjustment time. Harley has done very well, but there have certainly been changes in his lifestyle. His was not allowed to make his adjustments gradually, he had to react to a sudden blackout. I really felt that we had to be very careful there. Harley has done very well, but his interests and reactions have clearly changed. So not doing things that he did before is not a sign of weakness. In any event, I would certainly disagree with any approach that implies “you just go on as if nothing happened”.

      3. Wow, and I thought other dogs other than Harley experienced sudden blindness. All those other stories must be just “stories” and the relatively easy transitions of those dogs must not be true.

        Cookie cutter approaches work both ways. You can exist inside the margins, limiting life, or you can exist on the outside where the possibilities are endless.

        You said yourself that keeping a blind dog living wasn’t a consideration in the not to distant past. Neither was a dog whose spine was fused, one who is deaf and blind, missing 2 legs and a host of other ‘disabilities’. In fact, dogs are more resiliant than some people give them credit for. They are also more perceptive than some want to believe. If you treat Harley like he is deficient, he will be deficient. If instead you allow him to be Harley, you might be surprised at what he can do.

        But my experience with special needs dogs is limited compared to yours, so what do I know.

      4. “Keeping a blind dog isn’t a consideration” ???? Really! Such a comment is not a consideration! I don’t know what your point is, but your comments and judgmental license for someone who far removed from a situation are pretty presumptive, especially when you repetitively claim that I “treat Harley like he is deficient.”. Harley is not deficient!

      5. I’m not going to refresh your memory of some telephone conversations on the first part of your comment. As far as the rest, you keep telling me what Harley can’t do. Other than a specific ball you say he can play with, everything else – he can’t do, or so you say. Maybe you don’t hear the words coming out of your mouth, but it’s always negative. When I try to tell you what others do under the very same circumstances, you cut me off – nothing applies to Harley. For whatever reason, many thousands, perhaps millions of blind dogs and their people are wrong or somehow so completely different from Harley’s case that they can’t even understand your situation. Maybe if you visit some of the web sites or join some of the discussion groups I sent and listen to people who live with houses full of blind dogs you will understand. My reaching out for what I thought would help with Harley helped us immensely and continues to do so with Gracie. I don’t care who’s right as long as Gracie is happy. Incidentally, your comment is the first time, and I want you to double check with mom on this, that you have proclaimed Harley ‘not deficient’. That’s actually a start. Build on it.

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