that's life (Australia)

Blind and deaf – she’s my hero

Montanna saved her pup from doggy death row

- Montanna Hoyes, 26, Gold Coast, Qld As told to Beth Young Follow Nox’s adventures on Instagram, @lifeofnox

Hard at work as a waitress, suddenly I spotted a squishy, pure white puppy with pink eyes.

A dog-friendly cafe, one of our regulars had brought in the cute pooch. Instantly drawn, I rushed over.

‘She’s beautiful! How old is she?’ I asked, picking up the pup and giving her a squeeze.

‘About ve weeks,’ my customer said.

‘What’s her name?’ I gushed.

‘She doesn’t have one – she’s being put down in two days,’ she said, sadly. ‘She’s deaf and blind, and albino.’

She was minding the sweet little girl for a friend who had decided they couldn’t keep her.

Oh my goodness, I thought, shocked.

Wriggling in my arms, she was perfect.

I’d heard everything I needed to. She wasn’t spending another moment on death row. She was coming home with me!

Aged 21 and a uni student, there was only one problem.

I lived with my parents, Teonie and David, and Dad was not an animal lover!

Giving him the full sob story when I got home, I pulled at his heart strings. ‘It’s me or nothing,’ I said. Knowing she had no other option, Dad crumbled.

It was Wednesday, and our new nameless baby was getting dropped off at our place on Friday.

I decided to call her Equinox, or Nox for short.

I researched her breed – a Bull Arab – and tried to nd anything I could on deaf and blind dogs.

But all the info I could nd was about deaf or blind doggos.

Did she hear that? I’d wonder when Nox tilted her head at a big bang.

I’d imagined a blind-deaf pup would be docile. I was wrong!

A cheeky ratbag, Nox had me up all hours like a new mum. But every sleepless night was worth it.

She loved cuddles. And when she did nally nod off – often sprawled on top of me in bed – my adorable squish would smile in her sleep.

That rst week, I took Nox to the vet so they could check her hearing and examine her eyes.

It turns out, that due to her albinism, she had a condition called microphtha­lmia, which meant her eyes were underdevel­oped.

Her eyeballs were too small to hold back her third eyelid – which all canines have – and they had closed over her eyes.

That might be what was making Nox’s eyes appear rose-hued. But there was good news!

‘If I remove her third eyelids, she might have a

level of vision,’ the vet said. Picking up Nox after her surgery a few weeks later, I was shocked.

My poor baby had raw, bleeding eye sockets.

Oh no! Have I ruined her?! I fretted.

‘Nox’s eyes were more undevelope­d than I’d anticipate­d,’ the vet said.

To protect her eyes as she recovered, she had to wear adorable goggles!

But, healing quickly, she became a lot more receptive to movement and visual cues, which would make training her easier.

I think she can make out shadows, I thought.

By now, I also had another secret weapon – peanut butter!

One day, my grandma Ronda brought over some homemade peanut butter – which was safe for pups – and slathered it all over a spiky doggy ball.

In heaven, Nox licked off every last morsel.

Grandma had created a monster! I even started calling Nox Miss Piggy!

It meant that as long as I had the good stuff, Nox was putty in my hands.

Once I got the hang of how she needed to be taught, Nox nailed all the standard doggy tricks.

A double tap on her butt meant sit, while the same movement on her paw, signi ed shake.

If I swept under her chin, she knew that meant ‘go’ – to eat or to walk forward. And a swipe along her left or right hip, and she would turn that way.

In new environmen­ts, Nox sometimes bumped her head on obstacles.

But give her a while and she’d map out the area.

Running like the wind, she’d know when to swerve to miss a tree or a fence. And her sense of smell was incredible.

She’d even start barking a few minutes before someone she knew arrived at our front door!

Out and about, Nox wore a custom-made vest that read deaf and blind.

‘Deaf and blind!’ passersby would exclaim.

One day, a lady cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled at Nox, ‘You’re a good girl!’

Happy-golucky Nox gets through life without a worry

It was like she thought, if she said it loudly, Nox might just hear!

Others weren’t so sweet. ‘She has no quality of life – you should put her down,’ I’ve been told by some thoughtles­s strangers.

At rst, it frustrated me. How could anyone say that about my peanut butter-loving Miss Piggy?

Now, with Nox’s fth birthday approachin­g, I brush off the haters.

Urgh, you don’t know, I’ll think. And it’s their loss.

Nox has taught me so much. No matter what, happy-go-lucky Nox gets through life without a worry.

My pup doesn’t sweat the small stuff, so nor do I. Blind dea es are game-changers, and Nox is my hero! ●

 ??  ?? My happy girl
My happy girl
 ??  ?? We don’t sweat the small stuff
We don’t sweat the small stuff
 ??  ?? In her recovery goggles
She has quite the sweet tooth!
In her recovery goggles She has quite the sweet tooth!
 ??  ?? She was the sweetest little pup
She was the sweetest little pup
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? My hero Nox and me
My hero Nox and me
 ??  ?? Nox needed surgery on her eyes
Nox needed surgery on her eyes
 ??  ??
 ??  ??

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