I quit my full-time job of 5 years on Dec. 22, 2010 and it’s interesting what you find out when you actually spend time observing things around you. The last few years of that job became more than I wanted to handle, because most of my time was spent there. Covering for people calling in sick, adjusting schedules, staying odd hours and with Bobby gone, I had to take care of two dogs. Dogs that needed exercise, food and attention. The dogs knew my schedule. I left them at 7:00am and saw them at 6:00pm or later. It depended on my ever changing schedule. I worked on Saturdays and baby-sat my nephews on Mondays ( I let them hang out with the kids while doing this) so I was ultimately too tired for them on Sundays! Thank goodness I was still living at home, renting the bottom floor of the two story house my parents lived in. While I wasn’t home, they made sure the dogs were let out of the house to play with my nephews, or given food to eat, or let out to do their business. So they helped me a lot when Bobby died.
Just this past June, Josh, my fiance, and I moved from Kalihi (which is in Honolulu), to Ewa Beach which is further west on Oahu. I started leaving the house at 5:30am and coming home at 7:30pm or 9:30 pm, depending on my schedule. It was a tough commute and I had to be available 7 days a week, just in case something happened. I stopped babysitting because that would mean I spent most of my waking hour in “town”…yet that’s where I moved from. Josh’s day consisted of Monday-Friday, leaving at 6:45am and coming home at 7:00pm, now he’s coming home at 4:30pm which is great for all of us. After I quit, I’m less angry, less depressed and get to spend quality time with Josh, cleaning the house and cooking, really exercising the dogs and I’m back to babysitting, which is great!
I have so much time now that I’ve finally noticed that my eldest dog at 9 years old, Nani-Girl, is blind or going blind. I think it’s been gradual because I noticed one eye has been cloudy for about a year now but I thought, she’s as sharp as ever. She was fast when we played soccer. She could still catch her small bouncy ball and she liked to run outside! In the pictures below you can see her pupils are small..they never shrink anymore, they are large and black, the size of a dime.
One morning, I took a shower and called out yo Nani-Girl and saw something wiggling under the covers. Well, Sky, thinking Nani was playing pounced on her and I got scared because I’m sure that hurt Nani-Girl. When I pulled back the covers, Nani’s left eye was blinking as if it was hurt. When I brought my arm over it, she winced or fluttered her eye as if in anticipation of something coming down on her…so I thought, okay, I think she thinks my hand is going to hit her, but I touched her head instead. She did that the whole day if I came near. I kept Sky away from her (Sky doesn’t know that her paw is heavy and can hurt! I know because she’s stepped on my foot before and she’s 50 pounds!)
Last week I thought it bizarre that wherever I was she wanted “up”–to be in my lap. Once I put her there, she would fall asleep in my lap. Then I noticed when we’d go out I’d get impatient because she’d hesitate at the gate and I thought, okay…maybe she’s just cautious because Sky likes to push past her to the gate…but I didn’t understand why she would hesitate going back in the gate. I thought she was being her typical stubborn self and wanted a longer adventure walk! Also when we go back in the gate she sticks to close to the wall that I wondered if she was afraid the gate would close and hit her.
We laid in bed one morning-she’s been seeking me out in the middle of the night to curl up next to my back or tummy, and I put a hand near her left eye to see if she saw my hand. Her eyeball didn’t twitch. The pupils are dilated. I waved my hand and she didn’t turn her head. I got scared. Then things started making sense!
The gate issue? If she can’t see the gate, no wonder she’s cautious walking through it. She sticks to the wall to give herself a guide and the sound of my feet walking helps her know to go straight ahead. Always wanting to be in my lap? Well, she can’t see me so when I’m quiet she tries to find me and wants to be near me…I can’t imagine having my vision go dark and not be able to see who I love 😦 So I call her to now and sure enough, she follows my voice.
On Sunday I went to buy food for lunch and when I came home, Josh said “she’s blind. She can’t see her bouncy ball.” He took the ball and bounced it near her. She winced at the sound and didn’t chase, didn’t move. I told him, the sounds are scaring her…and sure enough when he walked her yesterday he said she walked into the light post and would cower at sounds around her. I told him I noticed she walks nose first into things now, even the curb! So I take my time, let her sniff before approaching a curb.
I am still amazed though that she can jump onto the bed to find me at night. How does she not fall or miss the bed? And no wonder she couldn’t find her toy when we played hide and seek with it. She used to beat Sky to any toy during that game, but now Sky finds it faster…and I thought, okay, Nani’s aging, her sense of smell isn’t as great. Nope. I was wrong. It’s her eyes!
I was planting my flowers when I took this picture of Nani-Girl two weeks ago..
See..the left eye with the whites showing? The eye doesn’t move much anymore and it’s bulging more than the other. I was calling her in this pic and she couldn’t see me with the camera in front of her!
So I’m learning Nani-‘s ways and we’re taking her to the vet this week. We’ll see what they say about it. She’s still smart, just blind and old.
We’re not giving up on this little tiger, I took her in 8 years ago for someone who couldn’t find a home for her. She tried but Nani ran away from two homes before coming to me. She’s been to California to Arkansas and has played in snow, mud, the ocean and sand. She’s had part of her ear cut off, a metal rod put into her knee and still was almost faster than Sky 🙂 Now she’s blind and she’s still my hero! And we’re going to help her the best we can 🙂