Our first couple months with Jake were pretty normal. As a young puppy, he had more energy than any of us knew what to do with. His big brother, Wrigley, took the brunt of that enthusiasm, losing most of the fur in his tail from Jake’s constant tugging.
At just four months old, though, Jake started experiencing severe seizures. Our vet eventually found a combination of medications that helped control them, but also cautioned us that seizures starting so early in life could be an indication of serious brain issues. We prepared ourselves for the worst — that our time with Jake could be cut very short — but that has also helped us to be grateful for every day we’ve had with him.
Shortly after Jake turned two, we noticed an issue with his eyes, and eventually found that he was no longer producing tears. Over the subsequent months, in spite of trying every medication recommended by our vet’s eye specialist, as well as multiple surgeries, his eyes steadily deteriorated. By November 2016, with his eyes developing very painful corneal ulcers and in danger of rupturing, and without any other known options, we were faced with a painful decision: Have Jake’s eyes removed, or have him put to sleep.
Both options seemed so cruel, and especially for a dog who’d already been through so much. However, over the next several days we were contacted by a number of owners of blind dogs who encouraged us about the resiliency of their dogs after losing their sight, going on to live normal, happy lives. Our vet also counseled us that, to a dog, sight is actually #3 on their list of senses, as both smell and hearing are more important to them. With that information in mind, we decided to move forward with having Jake’s eyes removed. That surgery was performed almost two years ago.
Immediately after waking up from surgery, our vet said that Jake began wagging his tail. His months of pain were over, and he was letting us know! While he had an adjustment period as he acclimated to his new life, he continually surprised us with the ease with which he seemed to approach his circumstances. He still bumps into things now and then, but he also navigates the house and our neighborhood walks with surprising ease. And thankfully, his playful nature has returned! We’re so happy we made the choice we did, and so grateful for the many people who encouraged us to do so. Jake reminds us every day that his life still holds great purpose and value in spite of all his challenges.
DailyBarker friends, follow along with Jake and his sister, Addie @thegoldensrule. They’re pretty amazing!
Did your pup overcome a medical challenge? Tell us about their story in the comments!