that's life (Australia)
Blind and deaf – she’s my hero
Montanna saved her pup from doggy death row
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! ●