Marta has sent us this beautifully written piece about Wendi's journey. …
My name is Carina Josefine Thorbjørnsdatter Iversen, and I work as a dog trainer and behaviour consultant. In June 2017, my own dog went suddenly blind from SARDS. I soon connected with other people that had experienced the same. Needless to say this can be a shocking and scary experience for both the dog and their families. Many owners said their dogs seemed depressed, fearful, nervous and/or bored. I wanted to use my competence as a behaviour consultant to help these dogs and their owners by giving specific exercises that could help both dogs and owners when faced with this challenge.
When dogs go suddenly blind, they often stop playing for a …
I imagine on my own I would have made a safe and comfortable future for Britt. And maybe her life would have been fun eventually one day. But through your words of encouragement and with the plan you developed, I felt like I had tools I could use right away to improve Britt’s life and my life. You have made Britt’s blindness become just a small hiccup in our lives instead of a life-changing event. Britt is already back to her old laughing/snorting happy disposition and I am so grateful.
I feel that this has really brought Daisy out of her shell since going blind. She is very eager to learn. (…) She is wagging her tail again. This makes my heart happy
Even with 20+ years of dog training experience, I felt lost and powerless when Andi went blind. It was overwhelming. Having a plan allows me to set goals for him and give us “projects” to work on. I really enjoy reporting on his progress to my loved ones as well. The plan empowers me and makes me feel like I’m actively “doing something” for him to keep his quality of life
When my dog went blind, there were many new issues to deal with, but I didn’t realize there would be new behavioral issues, too. I was more concerned about the blindness and how to deal with that, when I realized that in some circumstances her behavior had changed.
One that stands out the most is she became very aggressive at bedtime if she were to be moved. Teeth barred, growling and sometimes a deliberate snap towards the hand. Totally new behavior. Carina’s guidance and patience helped us through this. If something didn’t work, she always had another trick up her sleeve to suggest, until we succeeded. What I really appreciated was she didn’t just tell me what to do. Frequently she was involved in trying to figure out why a behavior was happening, and that communication to me helped ease my anxiety, too, and made the training process easier. With knowledge comes understanding. With understanding comes change. Thanks to Carina the unexpected behavior problems are now in the past.
Willow lost her vision to SARDS in September 2018. I began researching, trying to find ways to help her adjust to her blindness. Willow was scared, confused as was I. Our other Malamute began reacting poorly towards Willow. He avoided her, growled and clearly showed he was not comfortable.Willow and I joined Carina’s Blind Dog Quality of Life group.
Carina put together a individual program for Willow to help her become the confident dog she was before blindness. We live in Canada and some might think “how could this possibly work?” Carina is in Norway; we live in Canada. Well it has worked beyond anything I could have imagined. Carina was readily available answering questions, sending training videos using her lovely dogs. Carina mentored me in helping rebuild the bond between our 2 dogs. Carina is such an open, caring person. I felt an instant connection. I knew this is the person who will be able to help me with Willow. When I was having difficulty with an exercise, Carina always had a solution. She is so intuitive and can suggest exactly what each individual dog needs. Willow and I love her.
The changes made have already begun to make a difference. Dolly moves a lot quicker and she runs, her tail wags so much more, she is with the other dogs so much more. She was taking herself off, but now she snuggles and watches them, if they are playing with a toy.(…) Dolly is certainly more alert! Dolly also engages with me much more. It is as if a switch has been flicked in her brain – so very clever