“And all for love, and nothing for reward.” -- The Faerie Queene – Edmund Spencer
Today’s entry is the kind of success story we all like to read. While Buddy is, thankfully, not a dog effected by cancer, he nevertheless has his own special problem. But thanks to the hard work of many people, Buddy has found a place to call home – forever.
On Thursday, I had the pleasure of talking with Margot McClelland, the young woman who adopted Buddy. Margot is a junior at Texas A&M University with a major in Agricultural and Life Sciences and a minor in Wildlife and Fishery Sciences, and was kind enough to take time out of her busy exam schedule to speak with me.
Margot has had Buddy a little over 2 months and, while she’s in College Station, he came to her through Great Pyrenees Rescue based in Houston. (http://www.gprescuesociety.org) She thinks Buddy is about two years old, so they have many good years ahead of them.
In addition to Buddy, she also has a Maltese named Aspen who she’s had for 3 years. She told me Aspen is a laid back little guy, but she felt Aspen had been lonely since her sister and her two dogs (a Lab and a Yorkie) had moved out. But now he has Buddy for company, and, despite their considerable size differences, they get along well.
I asked her what it is like to own a blind dog. What advice would she give somebody who is thinking of adopting a special needs dog?
For me it’s great. But then, I’m a huge animal lover. It’s fun! It’s really interesting … he always does something every day that keeps me laughing and smiling. But to own a blind dog, patience has to be number one. And at the same time [a person] has to be able to take on a big responsibility. You have to be mature. You have to be understanding of [the dog’s] needs and you have to be able to love them unconditionally because that’s really all they want; all they look for.
It’s so interesting – it’s as if Buddy knows that I saved him. He’s so appreciative. There is no greater reward than having a feeling like that.
Did it take very long for him to acclimate to his new surroundings?
No, actually, it’s really remarkable. He came over to my house the first day and within the next couple of hours he pretty much knew the area; he knew where the steps were, where to go outside. Within the first week he knew the house perfectly. He gets around fine. A lot of people don’t even realize he’s blind. Sometimes he walks into a chair or something and they’ll go, ‘Oh, poor thing.’ And I’ll say ‘Oh no, he’s blind.’ ‘But he gets around perfectly.’ ‘I know!’ It’s really remarkable how easily he learned and how it’s just so easy for him to get around.
Since he’s been living with me, it’s really interesting. We go on walks. And little things that I wouldn’t even think about listening to or that I wouldn’t even hear, he hears them. So now that I’ve been around him a lot my hearing has become a lot more acute. He’s made my other senses more acute.
What about his 2 AM playtime?
He does wake up around 2 to 3 in the morning sometimes but he really doesn’t bark. He used to kind of bark and I would get up. But I found that if I’d give him a bone or just put my hand on his back while I’m sleeping or even give him a toy, it just takes him about 20 minutes and he’ll just fall right back to sleep. Also, giving him exercise, taking him for walks through the neighborhood, taking him to the dog park – that also helps calm him down.
I asked her to share a few stories about Buddy.
There are a few funny things. When I say ‘treat’ he goes crazy; he jumps around and jumps around … I give him a treat – sometimes I give him two – he always expects more – I have a soft spot for him so always give him a few more than I should. But his sense of smell is so great. I think he can still smell the scent of the treat in the air. I’ll sit down and he’s still there and he’s still moving his head back and forth – so then he starts biting the air because he thinks my hand is there with the treat. And I tell him ‘Oh Buddy, no, no, there’s no more.’
When I come home he gets so excited. His tail’s wagging everywhere, he’s jumping everywhere. He doesn’t know where he's jumping. And Aspen, he’s small. Buddy’s about 75 pounds and Aspen is about 6 pounds. Buddy gets so excited he just jumps all over Aspen. Aspen gets annoyed, but Buddy couldn’t care less. He's just happy I'm home.
Buddy was used to sleeping on the floor. But my dogs sleep with me on the bed. So I lowered my bed for him. He comes off and on the bed as he pleases. One day I came home after a really long day – exams and school and such. I turned on the TV. Aspen was lying next to me. So Buddy decided to come up on the bed and he lay next to me too. He put his whole head on my chest, next to my face, and he fell asleep there for about an hour and a half. And I was so happy in that moment – I just did not want to move. My arm was falling asleep, but I didn’t care because he was so happy right there.
Dogs are such a huge blessing. They make you complete and they make your life whole. They really do. I cannot see myself without a dog – ever in my life.
Buddy, it looks like you're in for a wonderful life!
Erich & His 4 Pack