Three years ago, my now 17-year-old retired service dog Mercury started going blind. Even though I had worked with dogs for 20 years before he started losing his vision, I didn’t know much about blind dogs. Naively, I thought his blindness would dramatically change his life.
It turns out, I had a much harder time than he did adjusting to his blindness. Initially, it was hard for me to realize that this dog who had saved my life wasn’t able to see me anymore. But, once I stopped feeling sorry for him (and myself), I was able to recognize that he wasn’t struggling or afraid. Watching my blind dog continue to love life, train, earn trick titles, hike, and surf—all while not being able to see—has inspired me to teach others not to shortchange blind dogs of any age.
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