Coco my rockstar!

CocoMy 5 year old chocolate lab, Coco, was diagnosed with Glaucoma in October 2011 – my entire family was devastated and we cried – a lot! It was a hard time for my family as my father had recently passed away and my mom was fighting breast cancer. However, Coco’s resilience and good nature helped us through this difficult time. In many ways, she was there more for us than the other way around – as is a dog’s way.


It is important to find a good vet to take you through this complicated and upsetting path. I was fortunate to find an excellent ophthalmologist, who guided us through the disease and options available, although minimal once the disease takes hold.
We did initially start with the eye drops as the thought of removing an eye was hard to fathom. The drops did appear to elevate the pressure and pain for a couple of weeks, but in the end we knew the best thing to do for Coco was removing the eye. Surgery was scheduled for the left eye in late October 2011.

I was a nervous wreck and did succumb to bouts of tears on surgery day and could not wait for that phone call telling me all was well. My drive to the animal hospital was filled with thoughts of what I would find. But my Coco was a rock star! She was happy to see me and thrilled to leave! Although initially there was some whimpering, once she did her business and had her dinner, all was well.

The next few days took some adjustment, she appeared to be in a constant drunken state, but once she regained her balance and focused on her right eye, we were back to be a playful, happy go lucky dog!

Coco and 'babies'Although our vet gave us a 6month – 2year stay for the 2nd eye, by January 2012 the Glaucoma surfaced in the right eye.

We did opt for the eye drop therapy once again, but by Christmas 2012, the eye had to be removed.

Unfortunately the 2nd surgery did not go so well. My mother had passed away in November 2012, and selfishly for convenience, I had my local vet perform the enucleation on the 2nd eye. As soon as I picked Coco up from surgery I could see that something didn’t appear right. There was a lot of oozing and a small hole was left, as if the eye was not completely closed. The oozing continued for several weeks and so I ended up going back to the specialist who had to perform 2 more surgeries.

Coco - Miss-you-lotsAlthough financially burdensome, well worth it. Coco is now back to her happy go lucky self, running around in the back yard, walking off leash, playing with her babies and enjoying life. I get a lot of questions, but you would not notice if you didn’t look hard enough that she doesn’t have any eyes.

Although the diagnosis does cause a lot of angst, dogs are much more adaptable than us. It is not the end of a dog’s life, but the beginning of a journey together that strengthens the bond between man and animal.

4 thoughts on “Coco my rockstar!

  1. Thanks for the great post. My dog had glaucoma and it was a very similar journey. It’s a tough process for both dog and owner but it is alway a good ending when we can see that our dogs are finally out of pain after the surgery.

  2. Your story is so heartening for me. Although my dog went blind from KCS rather than glaucoma, the end result will be removal of both eyes to prevent pain. I’m dreading it so much, but knowing that she will be happier will strengthen me.


  3. Do not give up on a blind dog. Labs especially are uber-smart. dogs can learn to accommodate their blindness, live happy and lives in service- yes, of course every dog wants to have a job. I foster blind dogs, and my greatest love and success was Coco, a blind chocolate lab/shepherd mix. We found him at a local shelter where we were volunteering. He was close to being euthanized over space concerns, and he had already bonded with us. He was just thrilled when we came to work.
    I was asked to faster Coco and obtain some medical reports on his condition. So, home he came, all 50 undernourished pounds of him. We had been told of his intelligence and loyalty, but not of his OCD- probably a surprise to all. he had originally been surrendered because his owner passed away- to whom he had been incredibly loyal, not leaving his side. A story came from a family member that Coco had herded them away from a nest of snakes in their shrubs. I was to find a equally amazing level of intelligence and savvy.
    Coco nows lives with a family many states away, and provides a woman with severe arthritis support and comfort. It took a while to find the right place for him, family who could accommodate his needs, and him, theirs. I miss him like crazy- the love between us was deep, but he now has his job, and is so happy.

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