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Friday, 4 November 2011

Leading the blind

I recently found out that my eight-year-old Border Terrier Alfie is going blind. He is diabetic and its causing cataracts in both his eyes. I should have expected it but it initially left me devastated when my vet told me he had them in both eyes and that in time Alfie will be completely blind. I cried for about two weeks every time I looked at Alfie and found it really hard to imagine how he would cope.

I realise now that actually he possibly won’t really bother about it too much as sight is not as important to dogs as it is to us but I want to do all I can while he can still see to prepare us for the inevitable.

What should I be teaching him while I have the chance?


Allison & Alfie, by email


  1. Absolutely nothing!

    As his sight fades, his other senses will take over. I've been taught this by a friends recently adopted dog. He is the result of a merle-to-merle mating, is completely deaf, and before adoption had one eye removed due to a burst ulcer. His remaining eye was thought to have Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), but was recently found to be completely non-functioning. Never the less, Bear manages more than adequately to get himself around his environment, very rarely does he bump into things, and you're just as likely to find him jumping on a counter top and getting into mischief as any other dog.

    The only thing you will need to do to help Alfie, is to move furniture etc very little - he already has the knowledge he needs otherwise.

  2. I am sorry to hear about Alfie. I completely agree with pawsitivelytraining, my dog Lucky was blind due to cataracts and also went a bit deaf in her old age but she never bumped into anything and was still confident with getting about. All the best to you both.

  3. I'm so sorry to read this Allison. I suppose there's no chance of Alfie's sight being saved with a cataract removal op? My Staffie had a cataract removed at the Animal Health Trust.
    This book may be of help to you:
    "My Dog is Blind - but lives life to the full by Nicole Horsky" It is available from
    Good luck
    Caroline and Tala x