Nani-Girl: Coping with Blindness

Every day I learn something new about Nani-Girl and how she copes with blindness.  Ever since coming home from the vet, I thought her appetite had returned and she finally had a bowel movement, which was a victorious moment for Josh and I.  There was many moments of cheering when she accomplished these tasks.

But for the past two days I saw her food intake dwindle once more.  Not even giving her an appetite stimulant pill made her eat.  It made her pace the whole house looking for food and made her stomach groan but she did not “eat” the food in the bowl.  She hovered over it and even licked it, but never ate it.  It’s as though she has forgotten how to eat.  She sips her water bowl, thank goodness for that, because a day without water is very bad for a dog.

On our walks, which involves me carrying her from patch of grass to patch of grass because she won’t move-I accidentally found a way to make her walk.  If I walked behind her and my foot brushed her tail or backside she starts walking.  It’s exactly what Sky does to her to get HER moving.  Are dogs instinctive or what?

Nani-Girl is starting to find herself in strange places…like under the coffee table.

Here is Sky wondering why Nani’s under the coffee table!

For a moment there, she panicked not knowing where she was and how to get out.

Silly Nani-Girl.  

Then last night I decided I’ll take her for a long walk on the sidewalk along Keaunui Dr.  Last time I took her she got frightened from the sounds of big trucks passing by.  This time it was evening, 7pm and I put on a jacket because there was a wind advisory last night and it got pretty windy and cold.
I’d say Nani-Girl did pretty good except she’s absolutely suicidal!  She sniffed the grass, which is fantastic!  Curiosity for a dog is good-she’s using her nose and it’s not broken.  Thing is, she kept trying to walk onto the main road because she could hear crickets or some insect making noise across in the bushes in the distance.  
Nani-Girl has always been stubborn, it’s part of her personality and on this walk I was letting her lead to see where she wanted to go.  I’d like to think letting her lead will build her confidence into venturing more and not being so afraid.  I didn’t expect her to venture onto the main road-at one point I let her do it and a car was coming so I scooped her up and ran for the sidewalk.  Crazy!
There were times she stood very still.  I’d talk to her and push her from behind and she’d walk very slow.  I had to tell myself we were going to stay out there until she either pooped or she walked most of the length of the sidewalk for exercise.  Every car noise distracted her from pooping (she hasn’t passed stool since Sunday!–but it may be because she doesn’t eat much lately)…she’d squat and then straightened when a sound neared us.  No victory cheer for her there.
Then Nani-Girl was on a roll as she walked near the hedges which made me try to watch my steps because it’s a grassy knoll with an incline and a lot of times dogs poop there and their owners don’t pick it up!  (annoying!).  We made it almost all the way down to the side-walk when she started zig-zagging from the grassy knoll, to the side-walk and then she was trying to get onto the main road, then up the grassy knoll again!  I was glad there were not a lot of people walking around because I looked ridiculous!
After some time when I tried to get her to walk back to the house, instead of zig-zagging she made a circle!  Grassy knoll, sidewalk, grass, main road!  Oh dear lord.  Zig-zags and circles.  The wind was whipping us and I put my hood up to hide my face from the wind.  I felt mental.
A man riding a bike had his little dog running beside him and Nani heard the noise and that was the first time since she went blind that I saw her interest perk up and she even started running after the bike and dog.  So I’m thinking…I need to expose her to more stimulation with dogs around (calm dogs hopefully because she will try and nip a dog if she thinks she’ll be attacked-she is blind) and she likes kids.  
My goal is to expose her to things that will stimulate her mind and limbs.  Sky tries her best to nudge her and let her walk all over her, which is a good thing. I think Sky is starting to “get it” somewhat.  She sniffs Nani’s mouth, ears, face, legs, and backside all the time.  Dogs are amazing at sniffing out diseases, I wonder if Sky knows what’s wrong with Nani?
Sky nudging her big sis.

Trying to tell her not to go through the coffee table?

Today Nani-Girl had a bath and I made the water warm enough so she wouldn’t shiver too bad.  Once upon a time Nani-Girl would race around hysterically after a bath.  Sky would chase her.  Sky still wants to chase her but Nani doesn’t race around anymore…I did watch as she found the grass…and started rolling around on the grass to dry off and then she just laid there!  So unlike her.  I managed to put a towel down and moved her there.  She rolled around a little and laid on the wet towel almost about to fall asleep.  Sky wanted to pounce and play so bad…sorry Sky, Nani is a changed doggy.
I did take her for an afternoon walk, since Nani Girl loves the heat and sun.  But once again…we started going in circles and zig-zags but I went with it.  She did pretty good, I’d say.  I want her to get exercise in to get the blood flowing in her.  I made her some rice, chicken and broth and she licked it…so she got a few pieces of rice in her probably…(sigh).  It’s frustrating!  I don’t want her to lose more weight.  She did drink water, which is always a victory for us.  πŸ™‚
Then she wanted to be on the couch with me…which is good also because she stood up to signal that message by scratching the blanket on the couch.  I picked her up and laid her on my chest for a moment to look at her and talk to her.  She’s so cute.
Open your eyes Nani-Girl!

Down for the count.
It’s like she has no bones in her…so low energy.
Lounging on mommy’s tummy.

Sky stayed close by, envious probably and wanting to go for a run but Josh will take her tomorrow.
Lounging on the floor

Showing some love.
Every day is a challenge with Nani-Girl but as long as I learn something every day, it helps me to help her live a better life with her blindness.  Stay tuned for more news on the doggies πŸ™‚

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