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Good news, everyone!

Nine Goblins is on iBooks! You go to the app, you type in “Nine Goblins” and it’s THERE and it’s a BOOK! WOOO!

*pant pant pant*

No love from Kobo yet, but you can’t have everything.

Far more importantly, if you ask me, Brandon the border collie is back from the vet. We have been very nervous in the House of Wombat because he’s started falling down the stairs and occasionally wiping out on corners at speed, and that is Not Good in an old dog, particularly a Jumbo Size one in a breed with known hip issues. And once he goes down, being Jumbo Size and somewhat arthritic makes it hard for him to get back up. (He’s also got dormant Lyme, so his joints are creaky anyway, but his fear of stairs has gotten a lot worse in recent weeks, and we were getting very worried.)

So it was with great relief that the vet informed Kevin that Brandon is, in fact, blind in one eye. His hesitance on the stairs now is probably not pain but the simple fact that he can’t SEE the stairs very well–he takes the shorter flights fine, but the big staircase in the middle of the house is just a mass of wood-grain stretching to infinity. Adding non-skid tape to them probably helped, once he got over his initial alarm that Something Had Changed Without His Approval, since there are now large black bars marking the treads.

(That last is totally a border collie thing…the beagle could be utterly blind and would cheerfully hurl himself down the stairs because they’ve always been there BEFORE, right? But Brandon is very intelligent and also has limited respect for his humans’ intelligence and prefers to think his way through things himself. He has no problem going UP the stairs, probably because the next one is always at eye level.)

There is no treatment for the blindness—we could spend a lot of money to find out if it’s the eye or the brain behind it, but since they couldn’t fix it either way and his bloodwork’s not turning up scary, there doesn’t seem to be much point. We were already planning on moving Kevin’s office back downstairs so that Brandon can be with his human most of the day without having to tackle stairs–god willing, he’s got at least two or three years left, and this’ll cut down his stair adventures to morning and evening.

So, err…yaaaaaay!

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

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So sorry to hear about his blindness, but it sounds like you are managing it well! He sounds like a smart dog, too. Best of luck with him.

It's actually much better news than we were fearing--I was afraid the hip dysplasia had got him.

*nods* Knowing the relative quality of life for each, this is a much better outcome.

Glad that Kevin is moving his office downstairs -- that should make Brandon a lot happier :)



True. Dysplasia is -nasty-. Especially with joints affected from Lyme. If his get worse, though, you might consider some sort of carpeted ramp workaround for the stairs. IIRC they sell them. If not, they're fairly easy to kludge up with carpet remnants and some plywood. We did that when my sister's cat's arthritis got too bad (he was nearly blind before that, but he'd memorized where everything was and he learned where the ramps were pretty quickly.

I now have this image of Brandon with a Seeing Eye Human...

Edited at 2013-11-26 04:46 pm (UTC)

No cybernetic eye for the loyal beast? Think how cool it would be to have a cyborg border collie! Oh, wait...

That's what I was thinking. No bionic eye for the border collie? Bummer, man.

The next step is to install a stairlift so that he doesn't have to manage the stairs at all. Being not a beagle he'll soon manage to operate it himself.

Moderate yay? At least blindness is one of the 'less bad' things that can happen to elder dogs.

Yay for manageable blindness? At least there's no pain involved - one of the vets I used to work was an eye specialist, so this tends to be my first worry with blindness.

Also, can we have a roll call for everyone who, like me, totally read the title of this post in the voice of the Doctor from Futurama?

I bought it from Amazon when you first announced it, and it is a WHOLE LOT of fun! I don't say that about many books, but I'm sayin' it about yours. Way to go!

Yay indeed! With older pets, any diagnosis that doesn't come with a life expectancy time frame attached, and which doesn't involve crippling expenses, is a good diagnosis. Or at least infinitely preferable to the alternative. Certainly enough to be worthy of yay's :)

Also: how narrow and/or steep are the stairs? Might it be worth considering dedicating part of their width to a ramp somehow?

Edited at 2013-11-26 07:03 pm (UTC)

The dogs I had as a kid were, for pretty much as long as I remember, more or less blind and deaf. They did just fine for many years. It was only around the age of 15 that they started forgetting things and my grandmother (who had taken in our dogs once my mother lost patience with their care) had to shove their noses in their food dishes for them to find anything.

Yay! iBook!

Awww. Poor Brandon. I'm glad you are looking out for him.

Ah, the "it's bad news, but it's better bad news than we feared" report!

(My cat got that. "It's cancer, and it's impacting the intestine and remaining kidney -- but it's not the fast-growing tumors that close off the stomach and intestine and can only be treated with surgery! It's one that we can treat with oral steroids! And when my cat got it, he lasted another two and a half years!" Mind, this is on top of his kidney disease, so we're going to have fun with "how many chemicals can we dump into him without stressing his remaining kidney?" But the vet was very enthusiastic about how this was the best possible bad news for him!)

Good luck, and may this bad news be easily workable-with!

Blindness is much better news. Dogs tend to work through blindness quite well as long as you don't go moving furniture on them all the time.

Also, I LOVE it that you guys are rearranging your life (or office as the case may be) for the comfort of an old dog. Really, there should be more people like you and Kevin in the world. :)

The man rescues feral cats, if there's a more thankless animal-related task than THAT, I can't think of it at the moment.

True, true.
Although cats have mind control, I'm convinced of it.

I find eating gelatin helps my arthritis a lot (I'm 63); I started eating it about 10 years ago when my bicycle knees started getting creaky. Min 2 envelopes a week is my regimen.

Maybe it would help Brandon some, if the condition is not too advanced? Nice beef-flavored jello cubes?

At the least, he might enjoy them a lot.

I believe my husband made something very near to pork-jello recently, simply by cooking pork stew with bones in it long enough. Basically anything where you have bones + water + heat + time will lead to a gelatin-like substance.

I give my huge old man Maine Coon kitty Cosequin. I can pour out the powder in the pills into his food bowl and he eats it right up. It helps him a ton. Gelatin probably wouldn't hurt (no idea if it would actually help), but they'd want to make sure it didn't add unnecessary calories. Cause, you know, extra weight sure doesn't help arthritis.

"I'm a blind dog with a seeing-eye man,
If I mistake you for a fire hydrant, hope you understand!"

George Clinton - "Why Should I Dog You Out?"

I know plenty of blind cats, dogs, and bunnies. As long as you know what the issue is and can make adjustments, and once he learns that things are pretty much the same, he should adjust just fine. Sounds like you are on top of it - he's one lucky dog.

I was just nodding along with all the "treatable and remediable ailments are the best kind of ailment" comments, until I saw the tips on life with vision-impaired pets, and realized I have something to offer here.

My dog was blind for years.

Actually, he went blind twice-- the first time was cataracts, and we did surgery. The second time was a different age-related thing, and the animal eye doctor said there was no way to fix that.

He was a mini-poodle. They're one of the smartest breeds, right up there with german shepherds.

He went a little slower, when he was blind. He learned a way of walking that involved sweeping his front feet forward before putting weight on them, to feel ahead. He could tell somehow when he was about to bump into a solid object (only when he was moving slowly and carefully. If he was enthusiastic, or overconfident, he still cannoned into things).

This sense-solid-objects technique did not work for gaps, like street drains or dropoffs. But for those he learned voice cues. It only took a few times of us saying "Look out!" just before he fell into a hole for him to learn that "Look out!" was the cue for 'stop and sniff, and then circle around anyway because if you proceed forward, you will fall'.

After that he learned "Left" and "right", for detouring around things, and "up" and "down" for 'you are approaching a step'.

He really coped very well, considering.

I'm not quite sure when it appeared, but Nine Goblins is out in the Kobo store now. I bought it today, read it, loved it, and am ready to read it again.

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