BLIND DOGS CAN ADAPT
by Roberta Lee, DD., PhD., ND. TheDogPlace Science Editor
Would you adopt a dog that
was blind? Do you equate that to caring for a blind person? Well here is why a
blind dog is NOT at all handicapped but can inspire you.
Anyone who grew up with dogs knows why they are “Man’s Best Friend” but what if
you haven’t discovered the truth in that title? Even the worst psychopath needs
to be loved, in fact many people seek professional help because they do not feel
Most of us take our dogs for granted. We love that they love us. Our ego is
gratified every time the dog looks up at us and makes that special eye contact.
But what if the dog is blind? He can “see” you through his superior senses and
his nose is his primary sensory organ, not his eyes. You might miss your sense
of smell but it wouldn’t handicap you nearly as much as losing your sight would
The main drawback to being blind if you are a dog is that your owner may not be
able to bond with you as deeply and completely. Why is that? A little science
here… in humans, it is that direct eye contact which releases oxytocin – that
amazing thing we know as the “bonding/love” hormone.
If you are a dog owner, you know, you are already thinking of all the reasons we
Well, as a psychologist, I can tell you that
being adored is much easier on the
psyche than adoring someone who may not care. Few humans will put up with abuse.
Some of my patients are torn between love and duty to family and the most basic
of all instincts, self-preservation.
While it is true that some people feed on feeling sorry for themselves, dogs
never have those self-indulgent thoughts. If a dog is cold, it seeks a warm
place and its body shivers to warm the blood. If we are cold, we grab a blanket
and complain about it until we get warm.
Can you imagine going without food for a whole day? Domestic dogs have the same
hunger pangs, the same innate desire to “hunt”, to seek out food but he won’t
leave you to do that. Blind dogs don’t go on a quest for sight. They don’t need
special training. A blind dog quickly learns where the “out” door is and each
piece of furniture. My beloved Doberman could certainly find the kitchen even
with a blindfold on!
A blind dog simply accepts life and depends more on his sense of smell to guide
him. We humans can adapt in the same way and we have the advantage of speech
communication. In my practice I see many people who are blind to faults but who
can see a problem a mile away.
If they are kindly people who need unquestioning support I advise them to get a
dog and learn how to see the world more clearly.
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