by Shane Cashion
This is a picture of the new, one-eyed dog we rescued. As you can see, her one eye looks like a steely marble. It also sticks out of her socket, like she suffers from hyperthyroidism or had a blowout orbital fracture that was never treated. We haven't had a chance to have her examined, but we will very soon, and we will of course exhaust any and all veterinary options if the diagnosis is bad. In the meantime, we have to give her eye drops ten times a day. We more or less sleep eight hours a night, so this means we have to give her eye drops ten of the remaining sixteen hours, which equates to about once every hour and a half, assuming of course that we don't wake up in the middle of the night to do it. We haven't discussed this yet; however, if that's what has to be done, we certainly will.
Because we have two other dogs that are aggressive, and a dangerous, feral cat, we're going to look into getting her goggles, or a goggle, or at least a protective patch. Perhaps something in a mesh that she can still see through would work nicely. Our concern arises when we have visitors and our protective dogs sprint to the front door in a wild frenzy and, invariably, turn on each other. We're afraid that one of the other pets could accidentally pluck her eye out while engaging in this annoying, yet necessary, ritual.
We rescued this Pekingnese to replace the incontinent, deaf Pekingnese we had to put down. He had inoperable throat cancer. We held his paw at the animal hospital the very same day my wife was induced with our first child. Like the Pekingnese we put down, this one seems to get along great with our other dogs. I think it's a testament to our ability to socialize misfit dogs into a cohesive pack. Truthfully, most people wouldn't be able to handle our dogs.
Take our Maltese. You'd have to be very fleet of foot to own this dog. She may not look it, but she's lightning quick, and alert to any opportunity to run away. We've caught her miles away from home, deftly weaving in and out of traffic, on numerous occassions. But for our fast feet, sixth sense, and high endurance, this dog would almost certainly be under a tire by now.
Our Bulldog's a different story. For him, we have to be patient, and ignore things that would offend most people's sensibilities. He farts, belches, itches, spits up, and generally broadcasts his slightest discomfort. What I find most endearing is when we're watching TV and he audibly sighs, as if to say, "God almighty. Look at me. I'm miserable." This is the second Bulldog I've owned. The first was a female. I got her before I was married. She had a problem with her immune system that prevented her from getting spayed. It was no problem for me though. I simply went to PetSmart and bought her jean shorts that she could wear during her amorous weeks.
Back in college, I used to daydream about the house and dogs I would one day own. Like many naive college kids, I envisioned vast riches emanating from my B.A. in political science. And in my mind's eye, I had miles and miles of acreage encased by a country estate fence. For dogs, I had an elegant yet capable pack of terriers and hounds befitting the Fox and Hound image I had conjured up from my desk in the back of the classroom. While our current pack bears little resemblance to my college dreams, I now realize that it's actually better suited for us in that it allows us to utilize and even showcase what can only be described as our almost psychic connection to dogs with special needs. I wish there was a way for you to see us in action. We're really quite amazing.