I don't know if you guys remember this commercial, where the kids are so excited about going to Disney World that they're "too excited to sweep":
Well, that was basically me this morning. My eyes popped open around 5:00 a.m. and all I could think was, "I get to pick up my Lou today!!!" I then proceeded to surf the Internet on my iPhone while laying in bed for the next hour and a half, Googling things like "blind dog toys" and "helping your blind dog adjust."
We've actually been preparing for Lexie's new life as a blind dog for several weeks. My back deck is basically just an elevated, 6-foot wide, wooden platform with two sets of four steps leading down to the back yard, but there were no railings or boundaries along the edges. When Lexie first lost her vision, she terrified me by falling off the deck not once, but three times! It's only about 3 feet off the ground, but that's plenty high enough for her to get hurt if she landed the wrong way. So, building a railing for the deck became my TOP priority. The problem is that neither I, Justin, nor any of our immediate family members are very handy.
So, my good friend, Shane, came to the rescue! With the help of my brother, Zach, and Zach's girlfriend, Kristy, Shane installed a railing along the edge of the deck in no time.
We decided that I should also put up some lattace along the bottom of the deck so that Lexie couldn't get lost underneath, and the steps also needed some sort of railing or boundary so that she couldn't accidentally walk off the sides. I had gotten so caught up with Lexie's latest emergency, however, that I hadn't gotten around to purchasing the lattace and lumber yet.
Then, just a couple days ago, I came home from work to find that Shane had borrowed my house key from Zach and Kristy (they live right next door) and come over during the day to install railings on the steps and lattace underneath my deck as a surprise! I'm telling you guys, I have the BEST friends in the ENTIRE word. You just don't even know...
The other measures I have taken to help Lexie adjust are:
- I bought all three girls new collars with metal ID tags, which jingle a little whenever they move around. That way, Lexie will always know where her sisters are.
- I bought elevated food bowls for the girls. I know that it's best to feed larger dogs out of elevated food bowls anyway, but my girls are all kind of lazy and have always preferred to lay down on the floor while they ate. Lexie was kicking and tripping over the bowls, though, so I figured it was time we got them off the floor.
- I purchased textured outdoor doormats and placed one at the top step of the back deck and one at the bottom to help Lexie know when she needs to step up and step down. I blocked the other set of steps off with a baby gate.
- I read online that it is good to help your blind dog establish a "home base" with a doggy bed, so I purchased one last night. Mind you, I highly doubt Lexie will use it. We've had doggy beds before, but Jocie was always the only one who seemed to aprpeciate them. So, I fully expect Jocie to claim the new doggy bed as hers, too, but I thought it would be worth a shot to see if Lexie might use it when she gets home. I'm going to have the new doggy bed in the back seat when I pick her up tonight, and hopefully she'll lay on it during the ride home.
- I know Lexie probably won't feel like playing much for the first couple weeks that she's back home, but I'm really hoping that once she's healed she'll get some of her spunk back and we can learn some new games to play together. She loves to play tug with her stuffed animals (after she gets tired of cuddling them), so last night we bought her a Kong Wubba toy that looks like a cross between a teddy bear and an octopus and has a LOUD squeaker inside (Lexie loves to squeak her stuffed animals at us). I also bought her a Kong ball, which has slits all around it so you can insert treats inside. I'm hoping Lexie will utilize her sense of smell to find the ball when I throw it. This will be a new game for us, as Lexie has always prefered stuffed animals over rubber toys. I'm hoping she'll enjoy it, though.