Alex the blind terrier needs the human equivalent of a guide dog (Image: Dogs Trust Evesham)
While guide dogs provide vital support for people with sight problems, Alex the homeless terrier will have to depend on new owners being his eyes when he finally leaves a rescue centre. The four-year-old tan and white pooch went blind overnight after suffering detached retinas. Dogs Trust canine carers have been helping Alex adjust to life without sight but today appealed for special owners to help him on the next stage of life's journey.
Alex arrived at Dogs Trust Evesham last October but suddenly began bumping into things. Veterinary eye specialists confirmed he had become blind overnight because of detached retinas.
The charity famed for never putting a dog to sleep have since been helping Alex adapt to sight loss with an array of adjustments to his everyday schedule.
Emma Rex, training and behaviour advisor at Dogs Trust Evesham, explained: “It was such a huge shock to us to hear that Alex had gone blind. It must have been confusing for him initially, but he has adjusted so well and certainly hasn’t let his blindness hold him back.
“Knowing he was blind enabled us to make things in his daily life much more predictable so he’s much happier. For example, we’ve applied lavender oil to his harness so he’s learnt to recognise when its near his head – and then he gets to go for a walk.
“We’ve also taught him to lift his paw when there’s a step in front of him so he doesn’t trip over and, because he loves to play, we’ve got him some balls with bells inside so he can hear them and knows where they are. These little considerations have made him a happy dog and really helped him to adjust quickly.”
Most animals are creatures of habit. It will be important to develop a consistent schedule to follow with your new pet. Potty breaks at regular intervals, feeding at the same time(s) every day, playtime, walks – everything needs to be scheduled. At first, this can seem overwhelming but soon enough, you and your new pet will be on the same schedule.
Alex the dogs learning to adapt with special commands (Image: Dogs Trust)
Alex is not letting blindness stop him from scampering (Image: Dogs Trust)
The challenge is now to find an extra special home with owners who will act as his “guide people”, helping him to continue to adapt to his unsighted world.
Ms Rex added: “While Alex has quickly learnt to use his other senses, his new owner will need to be patient and be prepared to act as his guide human to help him settle into his new home. He would love a quiet home where there will be minimal changes in the furniture layout and not too many visitors.
“Alex would also be really pleased with a secure garden where he can happily play and he’d love it if someone was around for most of the day as he doesn’t like to be left alone for too long.
“He’s got plenty of years left in him yet and so much love to give. He just needs a patient owner who can prove love really is blind and can give him a forever home.”
Dogs Trust Evesham’s training and behaviour team will support Alex’s new owner by helping him settle as well as provide lots of tips on caring for a blind dog.
If you can give Alex a loving new home, call Dogs Trust Evesham on 0300 303 0292.