I’m her eyes, she’s my heart

Alma - First Day HomeAlma is a rescue dog from Spain. I adopted her to Finland in August 2010. From the moment I picked her from Helsinki airport, I’ve loved her very deeply. Alma was estimated 3 years old when I adopted her, so now she’s about 8. She had spent 2 years in the dog shelter in Spain and I know nothing about her life before she got in to the shelter. Her name was Noa in Spain, but since in Finland Noa is a male name, I re-named her Alma. Spanish word “alma” means “a soul”. Encuentros importantes son planeados por las almas mucho antes de que los cuerpos se vean (Paulo Coelho). The most important meetings are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other. There was a very special bond between me and Alma from the moment we met. Our souls must have planned the meeting.

At the begining Alma was a bit timid, but became more courageous little by little. She experienced her first snow and freezing winter with joy and excitement, even though in the southern Spain she had never experienced anything like that before. Alma has been living a very happy life after being adopted. We’ve experienced many things together, sad times and happy times. Alma is a very sensitive and loving dog. She’s been showing me special devotion and affection. Her trust, love and affection for me are touching. I’ve always told everyone Alma is a street wise. I think as a stray dog she developed 6th sense not all dogs have. Now she needs that sense as she just lost one of her senses.

almaLast Tuesday, all of the sudden, Alma started to bump on things when we were out. She walked quite confidently and otherwise she was just like before, but she bumped in to a car that was parked in the street, in to a lamppost and a trash bin. Then I realised she doesn’t see! I was shocked and took her to the vet right away. The vet didn’t find anything that explained loosing the vision. On Thursday I took her to the other vet who’s an eye specialist. She found some small changes in the retina, but nothing that explains the sudden blindness. Nothing referred to anything neurological either. The suspected diagnosis is SARDS. I got the advice of having her eyes checked again in 2-4 weeks to see if anything has changed. As I got home, I was crying and googling what the heck is SARDS as I had never heard about it. In 2 weeks I’m taking her to another eye specialist.

alma spain finlandOn Monday she was still seeing and on Tuesday morning she was blind. She went blind during one night! How can that happen?? The vet gave pretty much no hope of her eyesight coming back. I was asking if she’s in pain, but thank god she’s not. Actually she seems to be quite fine. At the most she’s a bit confused. It’s comforting me she’s taking this much better than I am. I’m grieving and I’m sad and worried. I’m trying to reason that for the dog the eyesight is the 3rd most important sense after the senses of smelling and hearing. I’m trying to reason she can still have a good life. Now I’m learning to be her guide person.

I’m her eyes, she’s my heart.

AlmaAlma likes watching and chasing squirrels. There are many in the park next to our home. This morning we were in the park and there was a squirrel. For the first time Alma was not running after it. It was breaking my heart.

I found this site when browsing the internet finding information about coping with visually impared dogs. I’m still shocked and learning to accept this, but I’ve decided to live with Alma a life as good as possible. I hope we’ll have good days ahead of us.

-Jenni

4 thoughts on “I’m her eyes, she’s my heart

  1. Diana B

    I’m so sorry this has happened to you and Alma. It hurts me that my dog can’t chase the squirrels any longer, either, but she still loves to chase her squeaky ball as long as I bounce it so that the squeak repeats enough for her to track it. She also loves her walks, too, although she now prefers wide sidewalks and relies on me to keep her from bumping into anything or falling over the curb. Still, when she gets to trotting, you wouldn’t know she’s blind. Anyway, you will definitely have good days ahead of you. It will be different from the life you hoped to have together, but it will still be worth it because you have and can rely on each other.

  2. Lori T

    I’m so sorry that this has happened to Alma but unfortunately I am going through the same. My black chow Minya has gone blind due to glaucoma. I never knew she had it in her first eye that she went blind in cause she never acted like anything was wrong. She was happy go lucky even though I should have known something was wrong. Well about eight month later her other eye started squinting and got real red. Her eye sight would come and go. I left one day at 3:00 p.m. and came home at 7:00 p.m. and she was totally blind and never regained her eye sight. I brought her to one of my old vets and he told me that I needed to see an opthamologist right away. He made me and appt at LSU Vet School which is a 2 hour drive for me and we headed out. Her pressure was high in this eye and we tried for several days to bring it down but never could. What I have never understood that the first eye the pressure has never gotten high. I had to end up having surgery on the eye with the eye pressure which nearly killed me. I decided to let them take the guts behind the eye out and put her a prosthetic ball so she would still have the eye and the movement and blink of the eye. She did well with the surgery and has great tear production from the eye. He put her on some drops for the other eye to try and make sure the pressure doesn’t come up in that eye. I have it checked once a month and so far it stays from 15 to 19 which is good. After her surgery I find that she doesn’t want to play with her toys anymore which she use to love to play ball 24 hours a day if you would let her. At first she would just lay around and sleep a lot but in this past week I’ve noticed she is moving around a lot more and beginning to be like her old self. She was always stuck to me like glue whether I was taking a bath or using the bathroom she was always right beside me. So I think its just taking time for her to adjust. She bumps into somethings sometimes but she keeps going. And she has my steps outside down to a tee. Also when we ride in the car she still jumps up on my console between the seats as if to say I know what I’m looking at. I’m not giving up on her I’m just gonna sit back and let her learn this at her pace. Good Luck with everything and you are right we are there eyes but they are our heart.

  3. Mindy Leitner

    Jenni,
    Thank you so much for this post. We are going through much the same thing with our dog Daisy right now and it was so good to read about your similar journey with Alma <3
    "The most important meetings are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other." I believe this too with all my heart.
    All the very best to you and Alma!

  4. Liz Devlin

    A beautiful name for a beautiful dog! I am so happy Alma has you…and you have her. Both of you will teach each other so many things, and have done so already.

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