I haven’t written about Bodhi in a while. Gracie, puppy that she is, kinda takes over the attention in the house, But today will be an interesting adventure for Bodhi, and worth some blog space.
Backing up for just a minute, since we have a lot of new folks in the last while…Bodhi is a 7 year old lab, born blind, that we adopted about 2 1/2 years ago. His first person died suddenly, and the relatives brought Bodhi to a vet to be put down. Vet said no, and long story short…we were lucky enough to get him. (It helps having rescue connections!) I’d never worked with a blind dog before, but with the help of an excellent trainer we learned some skills for helping him. (Bells were involved and essential.) He’d had maybe 2 seconds of training when we got him, and absolutely no life, but he trained up easily, and has discovered that life is a lot more than lying around 24/7.
Bodhi went to an obedience class after he had some good groundwork with me, more for the experience and because he loves going places than anything else. He learned some new things and loved going to class, but training itself doesn’t interest him much. He does everything you ask, but you can tell it doesn’t excite him much. He walks beautifully and is never a problem, so his formal training days are over.
Gracie has been a bit of a challenge for him, though they’ve yet to have a cross word between them. Gracie jumps up at Bodhi’s face, and when you’re blind that’s especially obnoxious, so we’ve worked hard to make sure Gracie doesn’t annoy the daylights out of Bodhi. He has never learned to correct another dog (or the cats for that matter). There’s a lot he didn’t learn because of his blindness, but he’s a fantastic dog. A daddy’s dog, and a 70 lb lap dog, and a real sweetheart.
But my sense is that he’s often bored. He seems to have spent the first four years of his life lying around doing nothing, if we can judge by the callouses on his legs. You don’t normally see those on 4 year-old dogs, but I think Bodhi got used to being bored. The other day while Gracie was practicing her Nose Work (finding treats that have been hidden in the room), Bodhi decided to participate and found (and ate…he is a lab) one of her hidden treats. He may be blind but there’s nothing wrong with his nose.
I talked to the instructor of Gracie’s Nose Work class and there is a new class starting today, and Bodhi is enrolled. The instructor has worked with other blind dogs doing Nose Work competition, and she has tried to convince me for a long time that Bodhi can do this. He loves the training center and the instructor, and the instructor is very good at modifying things as needed for him. His nose works well, so we’re going to give it a try. It’s more fun than training, and I’m hoping this might be an activity (besides his beloved four walks each day) that will get him thinking and stimulated and having fun.
Stay tuned for the report, and hopefully some pictures!