Love is Blind – Scully’s So Happy now!
Nicole had to make a heartbreaking decision so she could save her pup
In December 2006, when Scully the Labrador-boxer bounded into the vet’s where I worked, it was love at first sight for us.
He was only 9 months old, but his owner no longer wanted the adorable hound. But I did!
I had another dog at that point, Sandy, a Labradorcollie, but they got on like a house on fire.
Although Scully quickly picked up a few of Sandy’s bad habits – barking lots and being mischievous – I loved him all the more for it.
But, when he was just 4, Scully was diagnosed with arthritis.
X-ray, the vet told me that he’d never seen an animal with such damaged hips and it was a miracle he was still walking.
He was given medication to ease the agony, and it helped.
Undeterred, Scully was the happiest hound, bounding around the park, playing fetch, having a great time.
Only, in 2015, that changed.
I started noticing lots of sleep in the corner of Scully’s brown eyes.
And, when he yowled, he didn’t produce any tears.
And he couldn’t open his eyes fully, as they were so dry.
Soon he was off his food too, and would howl in pain.
As a veterinary nurse myself, I assumed he had an eye infection, which is not uncommon.
Taking him into work, Scully was diagnosed with keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS).
‘It’s known as dry eye syndrome, and can be caused by a reaction of the dog’s immune system, medication, infection or nerve problems,’ the vet told us.
So we got Scully some special eye drops.
But nothing worked.
I hated seeing my poor pup in so much pain.
Worried, in July 2015,
I started noticing lots of sleep in the corner of his eyes
I took him to see a specialist in Edinburgh.
The specialist gave him some stronger eye drops, but Scully didn’t respond to them, either.
‘What am I going to do with you?’ I said cuddling him.
He really wasn’t his usual sparky self, and I could tell that Scully felt ruff.
I wanted to try everything I could to make him better.
Towards the end of July 2015, he had parotid duct transposition – a delicate surgery, moving saliva from a gland in the mouth to the eye.
It seemed to work at first, but soon his eyes were dry again. And Scully was depressed. Enough was enough. ‘One way to make him better is to remove one of his eyes,’ the vet explained.
It was a last resort to get my happy puppy back.
So, in August 2015, Scully’s left eye was removed
After a bit of confusion, my brave dog responded well, and there was a lot of saliva building up on his other eye.
But then, unfortunately, an ulcer grew on his right eye.
And he kept closing it because it became dry again and even more painful.
Now the vet gave me a saddening ultimatum.
‘We can remove the right eye – or put him to sleep,’ he said.
Putting Scully down simply wasn’t an option.
We’d been through so much together over the years.
He was family.
If the drastic surgery would help make him well and happy again, then I’d do it.
In October 2015, his right eye was removed.
Scully was blind.
Initially disorientating, it was tough for him.
The poor fella bumbled around, kept bumping into things, and he lost his appetite. But he soon adjusted. Within just a couple of weeks, and feeling surer of his surroundings, Scully was full of beans again. He wanted to play non-stop.
My boy was back! These days I have to keep a close eye on him, but Scully’s confident enough to run around on his own.
People do point and stare when we’re out.
‘That dog has no eyes,’ they whisper, doing a double-take. Scully doesn’t care, though! In fact, losing his sight has heightened his other senses.
From just hearing the sound of my jacket zipping up, he knows we’re off out for a stroll.
Scully can sense where obstacles are in the house.
And, of course, he can smell when dinner’s served!
When we go to meet my mum from the bus, he knows where she is, even if there’s a crowd of people near her.
Choosing to remove Scully’s eyes was one of the hardest decisions that I’ve ever had to make.
But being blind has given him a whole new leash of life.
now my lovely Scully-wag is full of beans!
Nicole Paprotny, 29, East Lothian
He was depressed and in pain