Macular Degeneration: From the Perspective of Pets
Meet Etta and Maggie
Hi! We’re Etta and Maggie, Sue’s three-year-old Labrador Retrievers. Mom ran out of ideas - again! - and Sonia suggested she do a page on how she takes care of us. We just thought that was so silly. Everyone knows she doesn’t take care of us - we take care of HER!
Since we really are the ones in charge, we decided we would just take over the assignment. We want to tell you all about taking care of our legally blind Mom. We hope you find it informative.
Oh, and please share with your dogs. It’s hard to believe, but we have heard some people have dogs that cannot read or write! Really! Try to make sure you read it out loud for their benefit.
Dog walks and exercise
Let’s start with the favorite time of our day, walk time! It’s our job to make sure Mom gets exercise. We pull - uh, escort - her up the hill behind the house. We like to walk at least a mile and a half a day.
Not only is it good to exercise our Mom, but it is good to get her outside in nature. We read a page Mom wrote about how healthy being in nature is for people. We agree and try to get her out in all but the most inclement of weather. Since Mom is an inferior being and does not have a lot of fur, she likes to wear her snow pants, coat, and gloves. She also wears paw covers on her feet.
Making up for lost senses
Since Mom does not see so well, we are her eyes - and her nose - on walks. Mom cannot see when someone is coming at us if they are too far away. If we are uncertain about somebody, Mom knows to be cautious. If we want to go to meet them, Mom knows we probably know them.
- Etta: If Maggie goes psych dog, Mom knows the people walking towards us have a dog. And if Maggie goes totally insane, it is that handsome Toby Dog from down the street ❤️
Maggie: Mom! Etta is making fun of me! Stop It! That is not part of the article!
Anyway, we help Mom be much more aware of her environment and keep her safe. As a matter of fact, a couple of times, we refused to walk past a certain patch of woods and told Mom we needed to go home.
When Mom checked with her friend who lives up there, she found out there was a bear in those woods that day! The nose knows; don’t you know.
Another time some guy came out of the dark. He just kept approaching even though we were warning him off. Mom told him to stand back, and Maggie nipped his finger and let him know we meant business. Mom thought he was probably just dumb and friendly, but we were not so sure.
Staying safe at home
At home, we help Mom by reminding her to turn on a light before wandering across a dark room. Brown dogs on a burgundy carpet do not produce a lot of contrast. She has only had to trip over us a few times before she learned the lesson. Our Mom is pretty smart for a human.
Social and other benefits
Of course, Mom gets the usual, non-visually impaired person benefits from us. Like many dogs, we are absolutely adorable. People admiring us gives Mom additional chances for socialization. We are very affectionate.
We also share many of Mom’s interests and make great companions. For example, we do yoga with her. You know, updog, down dog, and kissy-face dog are some of our favorite poses. We model them for Mom quite often. Her form might be improving a little bit.
That is how we take care of our legally blind Mom. It is a big job, but somebody has got to do it.
Etta and Maggie
Do you still drive?