My Blind Little Lady


CassieTwo years ago (2011) in June I walked into the Animal Shelter in my town. I, like my mother, would go into the shelter from time to time looking for the perfect companion. I, admittedly, went into the shelter that day looking for one dog in particular but came to find he had already been adopted. I turned to walk out the door but a family picking out a puppy was between the door and I. Just then a shelter volunteer struck up a conversation with me about the dog in the kennel in front of me. A little black and white, 8-year old, Cocker Spaniel with some pretty obvious cataracts. I wasn’t interested in a dog of that age and kind of brushed her encouragement off. She persisted, going on and on about how sweet this dog was, and I figured, “Hey, I’m not busy, might as well play with a puppy if I can’t adopt the one I wanted.”

CassieWithin seconds of getting my Little Miss Cassie in the adoption room I KNEW she was the absolute perfect dog for me. I could barely contain myself as I left. I made the arrangements for her to see a vet when I went back to get her the next day, stocked my house with food, snacks, toys, shampoo, the works. I brought her home (after the spending a pretty penny at the vet to find out that she had an infection that the shelter staff had overlooked.) and she was perfect. Perfect size, energy level, temperament, everything. From then on out we we’re too happy.

Around November 2012 I took her to the vet because her eyes were blood red and she seemed uncomfortable. The vet took her eye pressure and checked for Glaucoma, and gave me some medicated RX eye drops. They seemed to fix things right away. Up until April 2013. I took her to the vet in April because she was vomiting in the house, very unlike her, which turned out to be something she had gotten into. But thank God she had because that was when the vet noticed her left eye had gotten much worse. She had developed Glaucoma and Lens Prolapse in her left eye which was causing a lot of redness and discomfort.

CassieI had prepared myself for the diagnosis because I knew her eyes were bad when I adopted her and that they were getting worse so I can’t say I was too shocked when that was the first suggestion out of my vet’s mouth. I grilled him with questions for over an hour, I had to be sure if I was going to make this decision for Cassie, that it was going to the absolute best option for her. Four days later I took Cassie in for her surgery. The next day I was able to pick her up. Admittedly I wasn’t strong enough to go alone. I had a close friend accompany me to the vet. I’m extremely thankful I did because I bawled when I saw her. I’m not exactly sure why…maybe just seeing your baby (wagging tail and all) without her beautiful eyes really shook me. How would I explain to her later that I’d done it for HER own good?

CassieThe next few days were extremely tough on me. Teaching Cassie where everything was, taking her out on a leash to potty, trying to get her to drink water with her cone on (harder than it sounds), and trying not to get frustrated with her. This wasn’t her fault, but I was so overwhelmed and grew impatient at times. I overcame that quickly and as soon as I stopped taking everything so hard, she started improving tremendously! In a week she was able to do everything she could before the surgery, sans the cone, have I mentioned how much I hate the ‘cone of shame’?

Today my Cassie is happy and healthy and I KNOW I did the right thing for HER.

17 thoughts on “My Blind Little Lady

  1. The cone is more trouble than it’s worth I think. Some dogs will paw at their face and some dogs are quite excitable and will run into anything so definitely the cone is needed in those situations but most dogs are pretty good.

    When my dog had her surgery, the vet didn’t even put one on and it came as a shock to me when I started this site and everyone kept mentioning the cone.

    Anyway, thanks for posting your story Valerie and thanks for being so honest about your impatience with her after the surgery. It always helps other people to hear that they aren’t the only one feeling these frustrations.

  2. I have to agree with you on the cone. Cass is 10 years old and doesn’t get hyped up enough to do any self damage in my opinion. The frustration and guilt that followed was a big part of this process. I had NO idea going into this that it would be so hard and I want others to know what’s ahead of them.

  3. Sadly today Sasha had her have the cone put on. She was pawing at her face so I put it on. Thankfully I’d pre-bought a soft fabric one and she doesn’t have to use the nasty hard plastic one I have in the garage.

  4. Yay! Love this story!! She’s so pretty!
    I know what you mean about picking them up at the vet post surgery. I had looked at enough pics…the overwhelming part for me was seeing that my poor PJ’s face looked a little messed up but she was still so happy!
    I likely cried a bit with relief mixed in with knowing she wouldn’t look the same. We are 6 months to the day today post surgery and PJ is doing fantastic.
    I really am glad that you and Cassie found eachother. It was clearly meant to be!

  5. Thank you! It’s so helpful for me to watch the transformation from day one to six months with PJ. She’s such a pretty girl!
    I think you’re right, I always tear up a little bit when I think of what would’ve happened to Cassie in that animal shelter if I hadn’t chosen her (who really chose who? Ha)

    1. Thanks Valerie! Any help PJ has given to anyone makes me feel better and makes me feel like we went through all of this for a reason.
      Don’t think about what might have happened, think of the wonderful life you guys are sharing now! 🙂

  6. Marie, I wish I’d had a different kind of cone. I just took the one they provide at the vet. One day before Cassie’s cone came off a friend who is training to be a vet-tech told me about other options. Wish I’d known!

  7. What a wonderful story and how we love our furbabies despite whatever happens! I never had to go thru eye removal with My Tina, I can certainly relate to frustration when trying to get her to do things- when faced with a different situation or I get in a hurry, Tina tells me she is uncomfortable by “freezing” which I at first was impatient but now take a deep breath to guide her through it. Like she is saying- Mom I can do it, give me a minute! But all I know is without the LOVE we all have, we would miss out on some very special dogs! Thanks for sharing!

  8. My Cass did the same exact thing. It took a few days but finally I realized, I can’t get frustrated with her. This is a whole new world for her and its not her fault. I just give her a slight nudge in the right direction and she’s back in business! Ill be honest, I have bipolar disorder and this has actually done wonders for me. Its amazing. I found her to save her life, she found me to help me cope with my disorder. Its just too perfect.

    I’m glad your Tina didn’t have to lose her eyes. It’s been a long road but I somehow love her even more now.

    1. I too found that Tina has helped me with my Major depression/Anxiety disorder- just watching her as she copes so well with her disability, I remind myself that I can too. She has a way of enjoying being loved/petted that one can’t help but relax! But she is so in touch with my “vibes”- she can be 2 rooms away and if she senses I am upset, she finds me without problem. Her collar jingles and I know she made it! She just turned 10yrs old this month. Hope Cassie is feeling better!

      1. Its amazing isn’t it!? How losing their eyes can make them EVEN more receptive than they already are. She helps me just as much as I help her.

      2. Abbey is what I call my emotional support pet, as I have severe bipolar depression, and don’t know how I would make it some days without her unconditional love…

  9. I totally agree with you, valerie. This whole situation has showed me how much I really love Elly and Dozer. Even though he’s not going through any eye problems, and I keep praying he won’t since he’s also a basset hound. But I feel like I just have a whole new appreciation for them. They are emotionally stronger than us, hands down. And that gives me hope.

  10. I know what you mean. I napped with my Mom’s dogs while I waited to hear back about Cass the day of her surgery and I looked at both of them and just prayed they never had to lose their eyes. Cass and I are stronger because of it, but if I could’ve changed her fate, I would have. You know? On the flip side, I didn’t think I could love her more than I did before her surgery, now I’ve found that I was wrong!

    Absolutely! I’ve had eye surgery myself, but to LOSE my eyes. I could never handle it as well as our pups do. Simply amazing..

  11. How are you and her doing these days? Everytime I re-read your story it gives me so much hope for Elly and us.

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