Waggin Tails – Rollie the blind Labrador

Rollie just came bounding out of the transport in CT, and zigzagged us all across the parking lot till we got her to a grass verge, where she took the longest pee I have ever seen a dog take! guess she was holding it in.  She was, amazingly enough, eager to get in the car and settled down right away (well, some tasty dog cookies helped!).  Lots of wet slobbery kisses over my shoulder on the way home.   Only took her a short time to figure out what  “Step!” means, and she is quite accustomed to the different level between the breezeway and kitchen.  I wanted her to sleep next to the bed at night but the stairs up were a bit of a challenge – lots of little treats as encouragement.  Once at the top, the baby gate goes up, and she scoped out upstairs just fine.  Now, two days later, I’m amazed at how she now manages the stairs so well already – but I don’t let her tackle them alone, neither up nor most especially down.  I got her a big squashy orthopedic dog bed and I was worried that since it requires a step up (it’s about 5″ thick) she might not go for it, but she really likes it I’m glad to say.  She slept by my side of the bed all night (as far as I know, of course – but I did get up once in the night myself, but although she woke, she didn’t get up and so wasn’t disturbed).  We have a waterbed, so the sides go right down to the floor, so there’s no draft from under the bed and it’s nice and snug.  There’s a large bowl of fresh water in the bathroom and she knows where that is.  Our sitting room is upstairs, too, so after supper she comes upstairs and I pull her bed out in the main room so she can be comfy and can hear us nearby.

She’s been for a LOT of walks – some long,some short, she is thrilled to go out and smell all the smells.  I have one of those retractable dog leashes – somewhere! I put it away somewhere clever after our last old dog was unable to walk anywhere,and now of course I can’t find it – but I will eventually.  I was thinking it would be ideal for me to take Rollie down the road to the elementary school where they have a large field and I could let her run around in huge circles if she wanted and burn off energy, but still be tethered for safety.  So I just have to figure out where I hid the leash…. We went down there this morning and and had the place all to ourselves.

She isn’t eating much yet, perhaps she doesn’t like the food I got for her, but it’s the kind my old dog used to like – Purina for adults.  I put what I thought would be nice treats in with her breakfast (chopped carrots and green beans) but I guess she’s not a vegetable lover.  Well, perhaps she’s still getting over the long journey, I’m sure it must have played havoc with her system,despite her bounding energy.

We have three cats and they are well accustomed to having a big old dog around – but Rainy (our last beloved) was pretty sedentary as she had serious trouble with her hind-quarters.  Winkie (one of the cats) used to sleep curled up with her on her mat by my bed at night.  After a while she may do the same with Rollie.

This afternoon I needed to clear away last year’s old flower stalks and old leaves that I didn’t take care of in the fall in the flower bed out front.  The front is not fenced.  I thought Rollie would like to come and sit out on the lawn with me, so I plunged a garden fork into the grass and slipped the loop of her leash over the handle as a tether.  NOT a good idea – she was so excited she bounced all over the place and hit her face unwittingly on the tall handle.  I should have thought of that, silly me.  So instead I took her for a walk around the neighborhood, then let her rest indoors while I did some gardening.  When I came back inside, I had some sewing work to do (I also take in alterations for people at work), so she lay on the floor next to me and was content to be close.

She is responding well to my requests for her to “Sit” followed by a little tiny treat – I keep a pocketful so they are handy.  But when it comes time to go out side for a walk, nothing can contain her exuberance!  I prefer not to walk dogs with the leash attached to the collar, I like to use a harness and clip the leash to that.  WELL.  As soon as she knows I have the harness in my hand, she knows that means a walk, and it’s all I can do to get it buckled up!  .  As I write, she is sacked out on her bed behind me.

She has the thickest, glossiest coat I have ever seen on a dog,it’s beautiful.  And I love her white muzzle.  I got her toy with a grunt noise if you squeeze it (it’s a hedgehog) but while she likes to pick it up, it doesn’t grunt as the grunt part is in the wrong spot.  I’ve got to find a toy with a rattle inside so that just nosing it about will make noise.

I’m taking half-days next week to ease her into being home when I’m not.  I’ll take her out for a long walk each morning so she’s happy to snooze in the afternoon until I get home.   After this week, I’m hoping the early morning walks will hold her over until the afternoon.  If I find she’s not happy with this, I can come home at lunchtime for a quick five minute walk around the block, I’ll have to see how she settles in.

When we were on our first long walk, I came across someone I know who was out for a walk herself.  I explained Rollie was blind,and she looked at me aghast, and said, “What are you going to do with a BLIND dog???” I suppose that’s going to be the reaction of many.  I told her she was going to go on walks with me, and live with us as part of the family.  She seemed stunned by this.  As my husband John said when I told him this, well, blind dogs have to live somewhere, don’t they?

I’m sure LoveHandlers must miss her dreadfully – but how lucky for the 3-legged German Shepherd for whom space at LoveHandlers came available now that Rollie has a new home.  Best wishes to all at LoveHandlers; we are thrilled to have Rollie be part of our family.