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Not Always Fun Being Right

Meet An Author Tuesday will commence tomorrow. Again, some miscommunication between the author and I. No worries, though.

Most of you know I'm not a dog person. I much prefer feline friends to canine companions. Yet, I have two dogs in my house and am the primary caretaker for them. Most days, my spouse takes them out in the morning to play fetch, but more often than not, I feed them twice a day, I play ball with them when I go home at lunch, and normally (very rarely do I not) I take them to their vet appointments.

We got Riddick when he was 7 weeks old. My oldest was 7 months. They will both be turning 5 this year, so they have grown up together. Riddick and I have had a very tenuous relationship. He's a labradinger, part lab part Springer Spaniel, and full of energy. Having him was like having another baby in the house. I can't tell you how many messes I cleaned up because of him. I thoroughly disliked him for a long time.

I did my best to get along with the dog. He didn't listen to me, so I took him to obedience class. That was a waste of time. Most of the stuff they taught, Riddick already knew how to do. He already sat and waited for his dinner. He knew how to stay. He wasn't stellar on a leash, but we hardly put him on one any way. He still didn't listen to me.

Riddick has always been a high-strung dog. He used to panic and pace when my spouse left the house. Apparently, he felt he was the highest on the totem when my spouse wasn't there, so he freaked thinking he had to protect us. When we got Ryder, some of his anxiety lessened.

Not only is he high-strung with a bad stomach, I've always noticed he had bad eyesight. It was obvious. He'd be at the far end of the back yard, and I'd be at the door. He'd stare at me, his hackles raised, and slowly approach, growling. When he got within a certain distance, he'd recognize me and wag his stump of a tail (they dock Springer tails so his was cut off).

Within the past few months, I noticed he was getting worse. It would be dark in the morning when we got up, and if anything was left in the hallway (laundry baskets, toys), he'd run into them. The kids like to turn all the lights off and run around with flashlights. Riddick would run into them, too.

Within the past few weeks, when I came home from work, the boys would open the dogs' kennels to let them out. Riddick wouldn't come. He'd just lay in there, looking pathetic. He'd come out eventually, but it took a while. My mother-in-law was convinced he was depressed.

He had a vet appointment last Friday for his rabies vaccination (I didn't have to take him for once), and I reminded my spouse to ask the vet about doggie depression. Turns out, Riddick isn't depressed, he's going blind. I knew it. I could tell. The vet said it could be a year or five, but he would go completely blind.

I may not like dogs all that much, but it was news I didn't want to hear. He's still my pet, and he's the 4/5 year old's world. I think he'll be fine, and we'll keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn't snap at the kids. Honestly, I'm not worried. He's had bad eyesight for a long time, and he's grown up with the boys. It's not a secret when those boys are in the room. I'm sure he knows they're there. We'll have to make sure other people don't surprise him, but since we don't have a lot of people come to the house, I'm sure he'll be all right. Despite my dislike, I feel sorry for the guy. I already told him I'd be his seeing eye human.