The Travelin’ Man

Life doesn’t always work out the way we want it to. Gail asked me if I was going to write about it. She thought I would have to write about it. She’s right. I have to write about it. Her suggestion for the blog entry’s title is All’s Well That Ends Well. It is my sincere wish this happens. Panchen is now with three ‘of his clan’ – as Ceese would say – and Susan. He’s been there less than 24 hours. I am grateful he’s there. I’m grateful the light bulb finally went on in the empty attic that is my brain. There will be adjustments, things to work through. Panchen is 11 years old. He’s blind. He’s been passed hither and yon. I think it’s important to document this (hopefully successful) transition. It may provide ideas, answers, hope, help and inspiration for others in similar situations. I’ll be keeping the ongoing exchange between Susan and myself, along with helpful hints from Vickie (who has fostered a blind dog, penned Lessons From A Blind Dog and successfully placed Magoo in his forever home) right here on Panchen The Travelin’ Man’s Page.

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Rinchen is in the dog bed, Panchen looking on. Next is Sammy and on the far right is Raji. 

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30 Comments on “The Travelin’ Man”

  1. Hello Debby, I really enjoyed reading about panchen. It brought back memories with me and Roadie, especially about going up and down the steps. He also wakes me up with a special growl.
    (smile). I will be sending in some more pictures when I buy another instant camera. He is doing well on Natures Variety. I so enjoy your website and I listen to the music in the background, it calms me down. Still have not found the album.

    I just ordered Pilate machine from QVC. Hoping this will help my shoulder. Roadie can’t figure out what I am doing on it and he barks and runs around, hops on the couch and looks at me, I have it on the livingroom floor.

    Alma.

  2. Gail says:

    Debby: Tell Ceese she was right…Susan has written me details about his first night and day…and with the last message, it sounded as if he found his place. You can’t imagine, well yes you can….how relieved and happy we all are…even Pippi looks more relaxed. We were making each other crazy trying to make relationships work and sometimes they just don’t. But we had to find out. I can’t wait to see how it will turn out. I love Susan’s house. It is so comfortable and welcoming…Such a good dog house…I seem to judge people’s houses these days by if its a good dog house or not….

  3. Susan says:

    You have no idea how perfect this feels to me. As is the case with much of my life, it all just happened and it was exactly right. I had no idea we needed an old blind Gompa to make our family whole, but….we did, and he does.

    He is really wonderful and grateful and it’s kinda fun to have a dog who really loves to be held and cuddled again. Rinchen just wants to go play ball, and Sammy and Raji are both a bit big for long term snuggling, but Panchen just fits perfectly.

    Today I may put him into the old carrier that I got when I first got Rinchen (sort of a front-pack that Sammy was always to big for, even when he was only 8 weeks old) and take him with me to run a few errands in the car.

    Thank you Gail and Debbie and everyone along the chain that brought each and every one of these dogs into my now full life.

    Susan

  4. Katy says:

    Susan,
    I am overjoyed to hear that Panchen is settling into his home with you so well. My heart was breaking to read that he was crying in the very beginning, and I have been praying for his acceptance and transition. I have been attracted to this dog since I first heard of him and saw his picture over a year ago, on Debbie’s Website.
    I am compelled to paint a portrait of this Blind Silver Traveling Dog and I need to know something:
    what do his eyes look like right now? Are they glazed or opaque, or do they still look like they did before he lost his sight? I am using the photos on Debby’s Panny Blog to compose a picture of him, dignified, laying out in Debby’s Apso yard, by the rock.
    Thanks!
    Katy, Zeke and Sadie’s Mom, in Edgewood, NM

  5. Susan says:

    Hi Katy. Panchen’s hair completely covers his eyes, so you would never know that he is sightless. The thing I was most taken with when I met this guy — after seeing the same pictures you are referring to — is how very much smaller he is than he looks in every photo I had ever seen of him. He really is quite petite.

    I did take him out today in the puppy pack and he was absolutely in heaven. He didn’t make a sound or move a muscle while we went to the hardware store, visited with the woman who will be grooming him in a couple of weeks, and put gas into the car. What a doll he is.

    Speaking of the groomer, I hate to say it but his long gorgeous tresses are going to have to go. I am sorely tempted to leave his hair because it is so beautiful, but Kathy reminded me very kindly of how unsuited I am to the demands that that would put on me. Her take is that the 20 minutes/day/dog that it would require would better be spent playing with them. So. As gorgeous as they are with those long locks, I’m afraid I’m not equipped to maintain them that way. Sigh.

  6. lhasalhady says:

    Katy, Panchen’s eye are smaller that when he was sighted. Given that, along with the eye fringe he’s worn, the eyes are ‘invisible’. He’s blind in the photo you’re drawn to, where he’s laying by the rock. If by opaque, you mean the whitish covering blind eyes often have, he doesn’t have that.

    His eye surgery was done in September 2005, by Dr. Todd Hammond, a veterinary eye specialist. After he determined Panchen was blind, and gave me the options, I selected the least invasive. Basically, with glaucoma the duct work that allows the ever flowing liquid in the eyeball to exit breaks down, plugging up the works, making the eyes bulge. This creates great pressure in the eye, is very painful and cause severe headaches. Humans, of course, can tell someone they have a headache. Dogs cannot. The choices were to remove the eyes; remove the eyes and put in prosthesis, or the alternative I selected. It was least invasive with a 70% chance of success. Panchen’s surgery was successful. Dr. Hammond destroyed some of the entrance duct work, so fluid doesn’t enter the eyeballs. That’s why the eyeballs themselves are smaller.

    The second set of two photos on his page shows his eyes and expression so well, but those were taken before the glaucoma was diagnosed and, obviously, before the surgery.

    Hope this information helps you should you choose to paint Blind Silver Travelin’ Dog.  

  7. Katy says:

    Thanks, Ladies. The info is very helpful. I’m working on two sketches, both of him laying beside the rock in Debby’s yard.(It’s a great photo, Debby, really captures the essence of the Gompas, at least in my romaticized view.)
    In the case of portraits, our gaze is naturally drawn to the area of the eyes in the picture. So, for compositional purposes, I’m going to try to portray him in a way that will draw the viewer to his sightless eyes, which are yet, still, the “windows of his soul”. And also paint him with his long hair, because he is so dignified and ageless. I put a rough sketch on my blog, just because I needed to express my feelings. I’m liking that one the best so far. Your suggestions are certainly most welcome.
    So glad to hear that he’s doing well, Susan. How satisfying to be able to carry him around with you like that, and give him experiences he surely enjoys but wouldn’t be able to have otherwise.
    Blessings to all!
    Katy
    Oh, one more question for Debby: The prayer flag that’s in the picture, blue and yellow. What is the design on it and does it signify anything in particular, or are just the colors significant?
    I’ll try and get that in there, as well.

  8. lhasalhady says:

    The colors and designs are significant. The tradition of prayer flags is pre-Buddhist, as is the Wind Horse, often depicted in the center of each flag, bordered by special prayers and auspicious symbols. The flags send continual prayers by the wind. The flags come in five different colors, representing five elements: blue for space/air, white for water, red for fire, green for wind and yellow for earth. The Wind Horse is a sign of uplifting energy that carries good fortune to all beings.

  9. Susan says:

    Yesterday I picked up the copy of Living with Blind Dogs that I had requested from the library. It will be helpful, but ….(always a “but”, right?) The book primarily deals with dogs who become blind after you have had them for some period of time. What that means is that you already know what the dog knows. You know what commands he/she already responds to, what place he/she has in the pack, what he/she does and does not like to do. In our case, Panchen is brand new to this house. We really are going to be in a newer situation here than that particular book addresses.
    But, I’m not particularly worried. I’m not very well trained, either, so I guess Panchen and Rinchen and Raji and Sammy and I will all figure this out together. If you have any input for me regarding what verbal and/or physical commands he has responded to in your experience with him, do let me know. My concern is really that I may be ignoring ones he IS used to and making him learn everything (or nothing) from scratch when he may already have a vocabulary.

    He is doing very well learning to pay attention to me, so maybe his past isn’t so important. However, any input you have would be appreciated.

    Susan

  10. lhasalhady says:

    Three quarters of a year has gone by since Panchen was with me. He lived with the group of Gompa males, so I’m not sure the vocabulary he had in my situation will be useful in your situation. Recalling a typical day:

    “Hurry up, hurry up, hurry outside” in a singsong voice meant he could choose between going outside using the doggie door or he could follow the boys to an outside yard. If he choose to go out with the group, I tapped my foot along his short route to the outdoors.

    “Gentlemeeennn” was the cue for coming back in. Again, I would tap my foot.

    “Home” is the word I used to orient him if I had taken him out of the kennel. I always placed him in the same direction, in front of the water dish, and said, “home.”

    When putting him in a crate, either in my car or at the grooming shop…”kennel.”

    Bedtime is a ritual, including an ‘earned’ treat. I go from pen to pen with my clicker and a bowl of treats. Panchen knew how to ‘up’ and ‘dance’. First, I’d put the treat close to his nose, then slowly bring it up which encouraged him up on his hind legs (something he did naturally), telling him ‘up’. To teach the dance, the treat is then moved slowly in a circular motion. “Dance.”

    You might try the SING he knew at Ceese’s.

    There is surely more vocabulary, but this is what I recall off the top of my head. The past and what he’s known in the past isn’t as important as the fact that he continued to adapt and learn.

    The latest issue of Dogs In Canada contains several articles on aging dogs, including the health and well-being of their minds. It is important they continue to learn.. Use it or lose it, as the old adage goes!

  11. Susan says:

    Very helpful, of course. The more I think about it, the more thankful I am that these dogs are soooooo smart and sooooo intuitive. I am neither organized nor consistent, and I’m lazy in addition to all that. So…they’ve really got to figure it out. Needless to say, Panchen is figuring it out. He finally found his very own “place” this morning. All the beds in the house have always been communal ones, and every time he would find a new one, he would just be appalled to return and find another dog in it. Today he found a place no other dog had ever been and that he is probably the only guy really small enough to fit into. And he just hunkered down there for most of the day.

    And later this afternoon he spent the longest time ever just hanging about outside without trying to find the shortest route back to the front door. Until now he has done his peeing and pooping and then charged back to wherever he thought the door was gonna be. This time he just moseyed around and pointed out all of the weeds and debris that litter the entire place….quite unfazed. When I decided to go inside he came along….

    What a champ!!!!

  12. Susan says:

    Aw shucks, Kathy R, you really shouldn’t have, but it was so very nice of you and …. I’m glad you did. Folks, today my postlady brought me a care package from Kathy with just all sorts of wonderful goodies for “Old Blind Dog” and the rest of us. I was/am so touched by her thoughtfulness !!!!

    Panchen, by the way, is totally HERE. Just yesterday the probationary period came to an end and everyone got it that this is our new life. Panchen woke up in the morning and told me in no uncertain terms that he is REALLY GLAD to be here.

    When I went out to do errands, I asked him if he wanted to go with me, and he practically danced across the floor and jumped into his pack. He’s so happy !!!!

    Rinchen and Raji and Sammy are getting the hang of it. They are still somewhat touchy about the whole change, but they are doing their best to be good kids. The only dust-ups seem to be the normal ones you would expect with any bunch of kids: “NO, that’s MY chewy”; “Move over, that’s MY mom you’re cuddling up too close to”; stuff like that.

    The family circle seems quite improved since Panchen got here, whether all the members are willing to say so yet or not.

    Susan

  13. Susan says:

    Okay, that’s it, I’m sending him back….
    No, of course not !!!!
    I adore him.
    BUT I’m doing something wrong, and he’s pooped in the house three times in the past three days. Personally I think that once the weather is nice and the dogs are all spending a long time each day outside that that will stop, but for now I don’t know if it’s still not clear to him that he needs to go OUT to poop, or that he needs to wait to BE OUT to poop, or if he doesn’t know how to get from the living room to the bedroom where the dog door is. I’m not particularly worried about it. It happens when I’m not here to catch his signals, and he does go to a back room (when I’ve forgotten to close the doors to them when I leave). As I say, I’m pretty sure this will go away with good weather and better teaching skills on my part. By the way, I do NOT have and have never used crates here; if I had, I’d probably go that route, but even though he probably wouldn’t mind, it would hurt me to have him in a crate while all the other dogs are loose.)
    Susan

  14. lhasalhady says:

    As a psychologist friend says, “if it ain’t workin’, change the approach!” Okay, let’s see if we can break this down and perhaps come up with ideas that may – or may not – work.

    You could be right. Once the weather is nice and you and the dogs are spending hours in your beautiful gardens it will stop. Although you’re not particularly worried about it (which is a good thing when one chooses to live with a number of dogs), preventing this behavior from becoming a habit has obvious advantages.

    He isn’t urinating in the house, correct? If he’s not, this tells me he’s confused about where it’s appropriate to poop. It also tells me he knows how to get from the living room to the dog door in the bedroom. He does find the back room, which he has deemed an appropriate place to poop. And, he does give you signals about needing to poop when you’re there. Okay. This all gives you something to build on.

    When you’re there to catch his signals, what do you do? Take him outside? Encourage him out through the dog door? The object is to be aware of what’s working, continue to repeat what’s working to establish good habits. Repeat what’s working. Repeat what’s working. Break down the steps into baby steps and build from there. The following example is speculation on my part, but you’ll get the idea of what I mean. Panchen signals you by pacing restlessly. You take him outside by inviting him to follow you out the door (or putting him out through the dog door – whatever it is that is working when you’ve caught his signal). He poops. GOOD BOY!! Back in the house you go, perhaps even rewarding him with a treat. Repeat the process the very same way every time. (Consistency, your favorite! )

    When you’re not there to catch his signals, you have a couple of choices. Confine him. Or put papers or puppy piddle pads down in the spot he’s chosen to poop. My choice would be to confine him. Get a crate. I know. I know. But, Susan think of it as a training tool not a permanent fixture. You can have a special bone or treat for him while he’s in there, if that makes you feel better. He will not poop in the crate. As he gets the habit in the above paragraph engrained, try him out of the crate when you’re gone, starting with very brief periods of time. Run a quick errand, leave him out. If he was successful, continue to build on the time left unattended. If he wasn’t, back it up and crate him when gone. Try again, building literally minute by minute. Expect regression. Don’t be frustrated or discouraged by it. Simply go back to the timeframe in which he was successful. He might be fine if you run to the bank, but not if you’re wine tasting for the day. Oh. Wait. He sometimes get to go. Lucky Dog!

    Do you think he could be confused by the surface of the floor? Is it similar to Gail’s deck? Could that be part of the problem? If so, is there a way to ‘disguise’ that surface indoors while he establishes a good habit?

  15. Susan says:

    Thanks, Debbie.
    Just to clarify, he may in fact have peed in the house, I think that that happened only when he found himself having to poop in the house.

    I think because I have mostly carried him outside and asked him to pee and poop, (and he always pees and often poops) that he just doesn’t yet know the full process of getting from the living room through the back hall to the bedroom and out the dog door. Yesterday I started putting the small collar you sent on him, leashing him, and leading him through the house to the dog door; then I scooted him through, met him on the other side, led him down the four steps and started asking him to poop. Well, he didn’t need to poop, so he headed right back in the house, but at least I’m working on teaching him how to get there.

    The fact that we are into our 12th day of rain here isn’t helping. No one likes to have to go out and pee/poop in the rain. Even my other three can manage to go for very long times when they contemplate the wetness on the other side of that dog door.

    I don’t think it’s floor surfaces, by the way because we have both rug and wood floor, and he’s pooped on rugs both times…

    Okay, the crate idea. Explain to me how I can put one dog in a crate while the others are free to roam about? The first or second night Panchen was here, I walled off a small space (probably 3′ or 4′ square) right next to my bed, and he just didn’t want anything to do with it. He cried and hollered until I picked him up and brought him into bed with the rest of us. Was that because there wasn’t a top on it? But that doesn’t make sense, since he’s blind…? I know I should be able to get into the crate concept, but it does pain me….Maybe I’d better go to the store today to see what I can find, though….

    Aargh….

    Susan

  16. lhasalhady says:

    Alrighty then..

    I think you’ve identified the major source of the problem. He knows to potty and poop outside, but it seems he doesn’t know how to get there without you carrying him out. Making the transition from carrying him outside to collaring him, leading him through the dog door, meeting him on the other side, etc., is perfect breakdown of teaching something in ‘steps’. Keep it up! You are right on track! For right now, learning to go through the dog door is a big task for him. Don’t expect him to put two and two – go through the dog door go potty – together yet. However, take him outside this way to potty before carrying him out. If he doesn’t go potty, let him return inside using the dog door and in a few minutes, carry him outside to potty. When he does finally go potty outside, having been escorted through the dog door, really HAVE A PARTY! That’s what Carol and I call it when a grooming client has made progress on something s/he has been working on. GOOD BOY!! WHAT A GRAND DOG!! Use a higher pitched excited voice. Dogs love that!

    Panchen is crate trained and will know that he’s in a crate. It’s different than being in the kind of area you made for him that first night (although it was worth a try). Two totally different situations, compounded by the fact that he had no idea where he was that first night.

    Here’s an assignment for you. Go purchase a crate. A small crate, not a large crate. You’re bringing home a den, not an exercise yard. Remember the small place he selected to cozy up in? Dogs like dens. Consider his crate a den with a door, not a prison. He’s crate trained. Don’t worry about the others being free to roam while he’s crated. Bring the crate inside without fan fair. Put Panchen in the crate, telling him, “kennel, kennel, kennel right up” in a happy voice and latch the crate door. Okay, okay. Go for an Academy Award! I know you can do it! Leave the house immediately. Ignore any protests; protests coming from the other dogs, protests coming from the crated dog, protests coming from yourself. Ignore them. Get in your car and go for a ten minute drive. If you don’t succeed with a ten minute drive, break it into baby steps. Make it a two minute drive. Small steps work for us, just like they work for dogs. 🙂 Return without fan fair. Let Panchen out of the crate, lead him out the dog door while patting yourself on the back.

    Repeat assignment, increasing the time frame until you’re comfortable – or as comfortable as you’re going to get – with using a crate. Remember! You’re using it as a training tool, not a permanent fixture (although there’s certainly nothing wrong with that).

  17. Susan says:

    All righty then….
    I bought a crate….
    BIG HURDLE overcome.

    Tomorrow it will be tested since my day will include a movie before going wine tasting, and although he’s welcome wine tasting, I think the movies are verboten.

    Susan

  18. lhasalhady says:

    Good job Susan! You’re over one of the hurdles! I think going to a movie is a perfect idea for this first run!

    Do give us an update, including which winery you visited and which wines you tasted.

  19. Susan says:

    Wow, this morning a light bulb went off and I have to ask: How long was Panchen with Mac and called Champ????? This morning I started singsinging him with “Champ” and he seemed just delighted. It may be simply that the pictures of Champ and ???? in the front hallway of their house in Virginia had broken my heart a bit. How could he have been taken out of THAT beautiful home? I know he’s in a great place for him here, but that picture in the doorway of Mac’s house really made my heart hurt.
    Wouldn’t you know it: the sun is out here !!!! Hurrah!!!! I’m no good at those days and days of rain. Today will be our turnaround day for sure.

    Susan

  20. Susan says:

    Well, here’s today’s update. Panchen is being re-branded back to CHAMP !!!! I was looking at the pictures of him from 2005 when he was with Mac and Ceese and couldn’t help but think that just maybe the name Champ would resonate with his recollection of days of freedom and outdoors and life before blindness etc. So, I used that name on him this morning and he just jumped all around. I think he’s such a champ that Champ will be his new old name.

    My friend and I went to the movies (Michael Clayton — thumbs up by the way), but I was way too anxious about having left Panchen/Champ in his crate for the first time to continue on to any winetasting. I kept having visions of…well, you know….Anyway, we got home and he couldn’t figure out what the fuss had been about. He dashed out of his den and rumbled around for a few minutes. He went into the back office and peed before I caught up with him, so I picked him up and pushed him out the dog door. He turned around and came right back in . Hmmmmph. So, I picked him up and carried him out and down the stairs and abandoned him out around the side of the walkway where he proceeded to poop and poop and poop some more. GOOD DOG. Then he came in and played with the other dogs for a while before going back to sleep under the coffee table. I’m convinced. The crate was only a problem for ME. Panchen/Champ is absolutely fine with it. I know, I know, you all told me so !!!!

    Onward to another wonderful day with 4 Gompas.
    Susan

  21. Kathy says:

    WOW! What a Champ! Susan, you are such a terrific Gompa Mom!! Now, make time for some winetasting!
    A toast to both of you!

  22. lhasalhady says:

    Here! Here! I’ll also toast. Here’s to your successful leap over several hurdles! GOOD SUSAN!! Here’s to two Champs! A Champ of a dog! A Champ of a Gompa mom! Here! Here!

    The other dog in the doorway is Tom. Tom and Lama Tenzin’s Dewa were littermates, both offspring of Chinya (who now lives with my friend Carol, her daughter Samanatha). I will tell that part of the story soon, if you’d all like. It’s actually the beginning of the saga that brought the group into the USA. It might be fun to tell the story here, on the blog… You guys can ask questions as I tell the story… It’s such a rich story. Ceese had never had a dog. She was a cat person.

    BTW, Chinya – dam of Tom – is the dam of Nagpo. Nagpo, the growing belly, expectant mother of Gompa puppies. That would make Tom (which means bear in Tibetan) the puppies’ grand uncle.

    Champ was with Mac and Ceese for a brief time. It was never intended that he remain there. He had been with an elderly, sickly aunt of Jim Fitzsimmon’s. I am not sure what happened to the aunt, but Champ was no longer able to be with her. So, he went to Ceese’s until a different situation came along. It’s important to know that at this point Ceese was using a walker and/or two canes to get around. Her knees and hips were in terrible shape. She spent the good part of 2006 in India undergoing hip and knee replacement. And Mac was retiring to Mexico. I offered to take Champ.

    When he arrived, you should have seen the greeting he received from Drepung and Katu! The dogs recognized each other, though it had been 5 years since they’d seen each other.

    You are right about Ceese’s home. It’s beautiful. And so warm and cozy, even though it’s quite large. She is a unique, amazing person. Mother Earth with a touch of the etheral.

  23. Susan says:

    Well, well, well, when I got home from my various errands today, Champ was waiting (barking) just inside the front door. What he had to tell me was: you think I can’t open a stinkin’ zipper????? HA !!!! You keep forgetting I’m the CHAMP !!!!

    And, it goes without saying, that there has been no poop or pee in the house since whenever it was that I wailed…

    We’re getting the hang of it.
    Susan

  24. lhasalhady says:

    A zipper? Did you purchase a dog crate or a purse? 🙂 You must have bought a soft-sided crate, which probably made that hurdle…softer. I would have recommended something a little sturdier…something without a zipper. If he continues to get out AND poops when you’re gone, you will need a different style crate.

    He unzipped the zipper?! That’s actually really cool, considering his handicap.

  25. Susan says:

    Oh yeah, it’s definitely soft-sided. The wire ones gave me the schpilkes. BUT, there is definitely a way to make the zippers un-unzippable. It just hadn’t occurred to me that that would be necessary.
    And, yes, I’m more proud of him for his ingenuity than concerned that he got out. He is, once again, the CHAMP.

  26. Susan says:

    And, PS, I’m returning the zippered purse. Sure he went into it that first day….he had no idea what he was saying “yes” to. But yesterday he got out, and today he just said “no”, and clearly clearly clearly I am a wuss.

    So, today when I went erranding I just left him out on the couch on the front porch; that will work; we’ll get it; I’m just not a crate person….

    Sigh

  27. rose says:

    My little Willis hates the crate too – i think he was traumatized when i picked him up at 10 wks and flew him to ny in the sherpa bag. He hated the bag and got sick any time i tried to put him in it! he remembers–pooped and peed all over himself. no, no never again!! I think leaving Champ in your front porch will be a great idea. He can wait for you, feel like he has his own space. Is it by the door you usually take him out when you bring him out? I always take my little guy out just before i leave (even if he was out 20 mins before) and i tell him Mama has to go to work, make your pep pees now. My neighbors probably think i’m nuts, they hear me out there carrying on a conversaion. I then bring him in and leave a few minutes later. While i give him the run of the whole house, he’s usually there when i get home. I’m sure he sneeks inside and naps on the sofa. but, soon as he hears my car, i hear him bark and he is always waiting at the back door. Give him a hug from all his friends out here!

  28. Susan says:

    Thank you, Rose !!!! for giving me a pass on my case of crate-itis. The front porch is one of the two transitions from indoors to outdoors, so it is a good place for him to wait for me. The other dogs almost always follow me out to the porch when I leave, so it puts him right in sinc with the rest of the pack.
    He’s getting so spunky !!!! He’s speaking up for himself and letting me know what he wants….Pretty soon he’s gonna be bossing us all around.

    Susan

  29. Susan says:

    I just looked at the calendar the other day and realize that Panchen/Champ/Champers has been here for four months now. He’s just part of the pack now, and seems to be happy. I know I am. Rinchen still treats him like an annoyance — snips at him in his own snotty way when they bump into each other; Raji mostly ignores him; Sammy actually plays with him, although neither of them really knows how to do it; and I just love him to bits and can’t imagine how we did without him. He’s pretty much got the lay of the land, navigating by nose bumps, which seems to work just fine for him.

    The biggest realization for me, and something I have a hard time putting into words, though, is that he/Champ doesn’t “know” that he is blind. His world just is the way it is. He doesn’t say to himself: everyone else can see and I can’t. We do that, but he doesn’t. His world is complete just the way it is, and although it is still a concept I am having to grow into, I know that it is so.

    Anyway, Champ wants me to get up and open the front door for him so he can go out and lie in the sun, and….I’m a gonna do it.

    Susan

  30. lhasalhady says:

    Dogs are amazing creatures. They live in the moment, something I try – with very little success – to do myself. A while back, I prefaced something I told Rick with, “this probably isn’t going to come out right, but I mean it as the highest compliment. Chris and her ability to remain optimistic, do what needs to be done with hardly feeling sorry for herself…well, she’s like a dog. She doesn’t focus on the negatives, she simply moves forward.”

    I said it before. I’ll say it again. Dogs are amazing creatures. Oh man. I just felt another subject for The Soapbox! Good thing I need to turn off the computer and get to work! Suffice it to say that the trend over the past few years from dogs as companions to dogs as little children, the use of ‘pet parent’ makes me crazy!!! It’s disrespectful to this amazing species. Okay, Deb. Enough. Go to work. Get off the soapbox.


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