Above is a picture of my eleven-year-old dog, Baby. She’s a Jack Russell terrier mix. I’ve had her since I was ten. She was a stray. Baby has been a pretty low maintenance dog up until about five months ago. Baby started to experience weight gain, intense hunger, loss of vision and an uncontrollable bladder. She would lay around all day and forget to let us know when she needed to go outside. When outside, she would relieve herself on the deck instead of going down the stairs and in to the yard. She stopped going upstairs to my mom’s office during the day. Her normally, upright, wagging tail was down and between her legs. She stopped jumping up on my parents bed. And the worst part for me was that she would not come upstairs to my bedroom where she spent most of her time. The doctor diagnosed her with hyperthyroidism with beginning stages of dementia. Because of this, my family was considering putting her to sleep because they could not stand to see her suffering anymore. This was possibly the worst news for me. Baby is and always will be my best friend. She came to us at a really difficult time in my life and the thought of losing her to the same disease that took my grandmother was killing me.
With further tests, my family and I found out that Baby did not have dementia but was suffering from a disease called, Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration (SARDs). She was not suffering from dementia. She was just blind. She was not going to be put down. She was still there, my Baby girl. Dogs suffering from SARDs live normal, healthy and happy lives. They just need our help to get them acclimated to their surroundings.
Now that I’m home, I’m making it my summer project to help Baby adapt to her blindness. And since being home, Baby has vastly improved! She has learned to count steps so she goes up and down the back stairs in to the yard several times a day. She has returned to keeping my mom company in her office. Her tail is constantly wagging. She still has a long way to go but I am extremely hopeful.
I will have weekly updates on her progress!
You can find more information on SARDs here.