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|Living with Blind Dogs
A great book for more ideas on this topic is Living with Blind Dogs by Caroline Levin. She details many training techniques for these dogs, discusses causes of blindness, and in a humorous section, has a top ten list of why being blind may have some benefits, which include:
10. It makes my human pick up her junk.
Norman The Hero Dog
In the summer of 1996 an amazing incident occurred on the Oregon coast. Where the Necanicum River enters the Pacific Ocean, unusual undercurrents are created.
Norman, a yellow Labrador Retriever, was running along the beach with his owner Annette. Unexpectedly, Norman ran into the ocean and started swimming straight into deep water. Annette was frantic. She didn't know what Norman was doing, where he was going, or even, if he could swim! She called his name repeatedly, but he continued to swim away from her.
Annette became aware of something else. What she thought had been the joyful noises of children at play were really cries for help. Lisa, a teenage girl, had been playing in the water with her younger brother, both of whom were capable swimmers. Lisa could no longer manage the deep and swift waters. Her brother was able to swim to shore but Lisa needed help.
Annette realized what was happening. Norman must have recognized the urgent pitch in Lisa's voice, and was swimming to help her. Annette called out to the girl..."HIS NAME IS NORMAN, CALL HIS NAME"! And so she did.
Norman swam to her. She held on to his thick fur as they made their way to shore. Lisa lost her grip. Annette again hollered, "CALL HIS NAME, HIS NAME IS NORMAN". Again, the two caught up with each other and headed to shore.
This would be a wonderful story had it ended right there. What makes it truly touching is that Annette and her husband had adopted Norman from the local animal shelter on the day before he was scheduled to be euthanized. Even more amazing was that Norman had been suffering from Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) for the two years prior to this incident. He was completely blind when he saved Lisa.
When Norman's vision started deteriorating, friends told Annette and her husband to have the dog euthanized. They were so very happy that they didn't. The same was true for Lisa and her family. Blind dogs can live happy and productive lives.2
1,2 Levin, Caroline. Living With Blind Dogs. Lantern Publications,18709 S. Grasle Road, Oregon City, OR 97045 ISBN 0-9672253-0-2.