Kirsty from Brighton, UK talks to us about life with her blind dog, Maggie. Kirsty fosters for the Wild at Heart Foundation where she met, and eventually fell in love with Maggie who had been shot and suffered terrible abuse.
Maggie, a former street dog, had four bullets removed from her eyes which left her blind, with a further 13 bullets that were left in place. Her ear was cut off but thankfully this has not affected her hearing.
Despite all of this trauma, Maggie is a loving, kind dog who is now living a happy life with Kirsty and her family.
Could you describe a regular day with Maggie
Maggie is the assistant manager at my outdoor dog daycare so weekdays mean early mornings. We have breakfast and have a quick walk down the park to play with her sister Mishka and her other fur friends.
We go on walks with all the daycare dogs and usually Miss Maggie has an afternoon nap (she is an older lady after all!). After work is done, and the daycare doggies are home, we head back and have some dinner and snuggle up for the evening.
What advice would you offer to someone with a blind dog?
When I first offered to foster Maggie I looked up everything that I could do to help a blind dog adjust. No body told me how capable and normal she would be. She walks off lead, goes to training classes and plays all day at daycare.
I have found that teaching her a few simple commands has helped her be the independent dog she is. She knows 'stop', 'left' and 'right', as well as 'step up' and 'step down'. With these commands I can guide her off lead around obstacles even at a distance.
Try not to wrap them in cotton wool. If you give them time and love they will show you how adaptable they are.
Build good communication with your dog. Work on a positive trusting relationship so when obstacles do frighten them, they know they have a friend and guardian to help them overcome it.
Don't assume that rescue dogs who have suffered abuse are in some way 'damaged'. Maggie was adopted as an older, abused, disabled rescue. She isn’t a pedigree and is a little wonky but you won’t meet a friendlier or kinder soul.
Search or select topics