When Jordan and I returned home from a 6 week Church concert tour in New Zealand and Australia we were anxious and excited to see our baby girl. No, not a real baby girl, but our 4 year old puggle dog named Bella. We love her, and often treat her, like our child. With no kids (yet) in our little family Bella really does fill that space. She brings great joy to our lives, humor to our spirits and warm sloppy kisses to our cheeks.
My parents, who watched Bella while we were away, told us that she had begun missing and losing her ball when playing fetch. We thought perhaps something must be distracting her but when we gleefully took her to the park the next day with her favorite tennis ball we noticed it too. She was losing sight of the ball in the air as she ran. This was a dog so athletic she could sprint 100 meters in time to catch a ball mid air before it landed to the ground. And now she was running in circles, nose to the ground trying to find the lost ball by smell. Something was wrong.
I took Bella to the vet only to hear the words I couldn't imagine to be true. Bella has damage to her retinal and is in the process of losing her eyesight. She will go blind. It didn't matter that she was surprisingly young for this genetic degenerative disease. I came home and spent the afternoon studying options (of which there were few) and articles and blogs and burst out crying when I got half way through one on how to treat your dog through the transition and into their new life. I did exactly what the article said not to do! But I couldn't help it.
Today I took Bella to her favorite park to work on voice command training in preparation for her transition. Thankfully she is such an easy to train, willing to learn dog, she was flying through the new commands with ease and joy.
Life is never perfect, we all face challenges of different shapes and sizes in our lives and I know there are parents experiencing much worse with their biological children at this very moment, and my heart goes out to them, because somehow, and rightfully so, we never see 'broken' in our future plans. Because we make plans according to how life should be, how it was intended to be... Perfect.
- Naomi Striemer