Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Special Needs" Dog (NOT)

Often, when I take Ray for a walk, I meet people. People with dogs and people without. Ray is a real people magnet. It's because he's good looking and uber-friendly. He's never met a person he didn't want to chew on or lick in the face. He ooozes charm and fun and friendliness. People smile when they meet Ray. But when they find out he's blind, often the smile is wiped off their faces and replaced with a look of pity, or concern, or even horror. They say things like "How sad" or "That's terrible." They tell me what a good person I am to take on a "special needs" dog.
What a load of crap. 
It just couldn't be farther from the truth that Ray is "special needs." Ray is a totally normal dog. He doesn't know he's blind. I'm sure he thinks it's normal to bonk into things until he figures out where they are. He likes to get into stuff. He loves to play with other dogs. He likes to play keep away and tug-of-war. He likes to sleep on the couch. He likes to run around the yard and yell his head off. He likes to bury bones and dig them up. He likes to counter-surf. He Loves to jump on kids and lick them until they beg for mercy. 
Don't get me wrong, Ray has needs but to think that they are in any way special is just silly. Ray's list of his "special needs" in order of importance TO Ray: 
  1. Other Dogs/Food/Water/Kids
  2. Beefy Rawhide Bones/Belly Rubs
  3. A couch to sleep on 
My list of Ray's special needs in order of importance FOR Ray:
  1. Food/Water/Other Dogs/Exercise/Fenced-in yard (preferably a solid fence, not chain-link. Ray can't see chain-link very well - but he learns the parameters fast either way)
  2. Love and Belly Rubs
  3. Doggy Door 
  4. Beefy Rawhide Bones or Kids. He likes to lick and chew on both; kids are not as good for his teeth though
There is nothing on either of those lists that screams out BLIND DOG! IMMENSE AMOUNT OF TROUBLE! As a matter of fact, if you look at the lists and provide those things to your dog, then you must be such a good person for taking on a "special needs" animal. I am actually less good than most people because Ray is so much easier to take care of than a dog that can see. He doesn't lunge after squirrels, he goes to bed early and doesn't get into any mischief after about 7:30, and he doesn't get into a lot of stuff that he could be getting into because he doesn't see it at all!
I probably shouldn't be letting this secret out, because now everyone will want a blind dog. 
Kristen, Ray's Friend at Doggy Daycare

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