Lately, I find myself getting aggravated by those words. I recently added a blind and deaf dog to my family. She is a wonderfully happy dog, yet when people find out she cannot see or hear, they immediately feel sorry for her. She does so many things that so-called "normal" dogs do - she plays and wrestles with my new puppy, she always knows when I have something yummy to eat, she chews bones, she loves to explore in the yard, she enjoys meeting new friends both human and canine, she likes to cuddle on the bed at night... She likes to play in her tunnel, she licks my toes. She is a therapy dog. Her name is Treasure.
Yesterday, Treasure and I attended a pet therapy conference. While most people who met Treasure were curious and then inspired by her, there was one person in particular who tried very hard to convince me that Treasure was deprived in some way, that we should feel sorry for her, and that she must be a huge burden for me. I tried to explain that Treasure was indeed very happy and content, and that we shouldn't feel like she is deprived of anything. Treasure was born both blind and deaf, so she doesn't have any idea that something is missing. She feels no different from any other dog. But the woman continued, "Ohh, that poor dog!" As much as I tried, I could not convince her that Treasure does indeed enjoy her life, and that I enjoy having her in mine.
I found myself starting to get angry with this woman. But then I realized that she wasn't trying to be confrontational. She just truly did not understand. Perhaps she had just never met a dog with Treasure's special circumstances. With her limited experience, she just could not imagine a dog being happy without being able to see and hear. Perhaps she tried to put herself into Treasure's paw prints ... how would she feel if she lost her ability to see and hear? I may never know for sure. So I started this blog as a way for others to get a glimpse into Treasure's life. Perhaps you have a dog like Treasure in your life, or you are thinking of adding one like her. I hope you can learn from our adventures. Perhaps you are just curious. Whatever the reason, thank you for joining us on this journey!