ElsieHello everyone – we are Loren & Neil from the UK but now Australian citizens living in Perth, West Australia, and we are just starting a new chapter in our lives with our 2 adopted Jack Russells Eddie (9-ish) & Elsie (5-ish).

This year Ed began to suffer a bit with arthritis – we had him at the vets a few times but after a while it was apparent he needed something doing so he had a cruciate (think that’s right!) op on his knee. They really shaved quite a lot of his fur off but that revealed a lump we hadn’t noticed before. We had it tested and it was cancerous! Oh I cried for a day – we had his blood tested and it seemed confined just to the lump so we made the decision to have it removed and give him as good a chance as possible. So in the space of 3 weeks he had 2 major ops on one leg.

Part of his recovery was to keep him confined for about 8 weeks which was hard on Ed and especially Elsie who didn’t understand what all the changes were about.

Ed recovered extremely well – in fact he has bounced back and is now like a puppy charging around!! Not bad to say he is about 9.5 or 10.

ElsieElsie on the other hand went very downhill – she seemed depressed and sad and nothing would cheer her up. I began to think something was wrong with her – she had become food obsessed (very unlike Els) and I suspected diabetes so we had her blood tested and thankfully that came back clear and normal.

She still wouldn’t perk up so I took her back and had her urine tested – to check she didn’t have a UTD but that came back clear.

I then was getting paranoid and took her back again and insisted they gave her a full check but nothing was found. I was becoming the paranoid dog owner but I knew something was bothering my little girl.

I then noticed odd things and started watching her closely, I thought she seemed a bit distant at times and clumsier than normal and it dawned on me after watching Neil training them in the back yard that Elsie couldn’t see very well.


We got referred to a specialist who I saw on Monday (12.08.13) and Elsie has SARD’s which you’ve probably heard of but just in case you haven’t its Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration – basically the vet confirmed that her right retina has detached leaving her blind in that eye already and her left is very nearly detached.. so our beautiful little darling Elsie will very soon be completely blind.

I was heartbroken and cried when he told me – even though I kind of knew her vision had deteriorated as she had got much worse over the last week. He said once it starts it happens quite quickly – they don’t know what causes it and there’s no cure but all the previous symptoms she had are linked with the condition.

I was upset that we had been back and forth and not found it before but he again reassured me that if I had seen him when it first started it would not change where we are today – the outcome would be the same – we’d have just known earlier.

He said that we will be more upset about it than Elsie will and she will adjust and he assured me that in a few months she will be running around quite happily. I pray this is the case and she has many happy years ahead of her yet.

So there it is – we are both devastated beyond words but completely determined to get her (and us!) through this and smiling at the other side.

ElsieWe are walking her with a harness now instead of the lead and she knows new commands ‘step up’ ‘step down’ for getting on and off pavements etc. – it’s a learning curve for us all, but we will keep you posted of our journey!

Any help or advice that you can share will be greatly received.

Loren, Neil, Eddie & Elsie. X

5 thoughts on “Elsie

  1. Thanks so much for your story Loren.

    I think I mentioned in a previous comment to you, that you might want to get yourself a copy of Living with Blind Dogs. It has a very good section on dealing with SARDs.


  2. Our Doxie Bailey was diagnosed with diabetes in October of last year. By January he had gone blind from cataracts caused by the diabetes and then in February his eyes started swelling Glaucoma had set in…..we had his eyes removed. Now at first I cried everyday I felt so bad for my little buddy….he seemed depressed at the beginning….so I would lay on the floor with him next to his toy box and “show” him where his thing’s were and we would play….our smaller doxie Grace knew something was different so when she want’s to play with him she rub’s her body against him then “flops” and they start chewing on each other…….I know you’ve heard Don”t move the furniture also don’t leave shoes and thing’s for tripping over…..and put baby gates up in front of stairs…… our most important word is “OUCH” we say that when he’s about to bump into something and he know’s that word mean’s slow down and watch out. Now it’s August and if you saw him and didn’t know he had no eyes you would never know he’s blind. he get’s around that easily inside and in our back yard. Good Luck to you and don’t worry you both will be ok “)

  3. Hi Teresa – thank you for your lovely reply. It’s great to hear Bailey is doing so well.
    Elsie had great spirit before this happened and we see it in short bursts every now and again so I’m convinced that her personality will once again shine through. It’s a learning curve for sure but we are getting there. She plays occasionally and has been running in the park when we know she’s safe. She even had a little paddle (on the lead) in the lake which she used to do before.
    Our other dog Ed has a bell on his collar when we are walking so she can locate him but he hasn’t really played with her since – but unfortunately due to his recent ops on his leg we were discouraging them from play fighting before as they used to be so boisterous! Typically now he’s charging around like a whirlwind with his new leg and poor Els is wondering whats going on!
    We’ve started her on a home cooked diet from the vet in a bid to get her weight down and she is loving it so that’s a bonus.
    Now spring is in the air we can hopefully get some longer walks in as its been a wet winter 🙁
    Your words of encouragement are a great support – thank you. 🙂

  4. I love the photo of Elsie with her head under the cover and just her bottom and back legs sticking out! I hope her playful personality returns (just as I’m hoping my blind schnauzer’s does). The book recommended, LIVING WITH BLIND DOGS, is a wonderful reference. Without it I would not have known that the emotions I felt when I learned my dog was blind were caused by grief and natural. My dog and I are learning to adjust, and I’m hoping both your dogs will quickly adjust to their new circumstances although it seems Ed is doing pretty well. Thanks for your lovely story. I am so glad that I found this support group. It’s true that you can learn from others’ experiences, but it is also good to talk (even online) about the similar issues we and our beloved pets face.


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