Animals are something that have been important to me my whole life. I have had family dogs and other pets but when I moved into my own place I decided I wanted a canine companion to share my life with. I have always wanted a Pomeranian so I found a breeder and went to collect Poppy at 8 weeks old. This was the best day of my life! We did everything together and she came everywhere with me. I trained her myself and she has always been a superstar.
In March 2020, when Poppy was 5, our lives as we knew them changed. I noticed Poppy was staring into space randomly and staying in the same spot. She seemed to have lost confidence and when she was stood up she would sway like she was off balance. I was concerned and thought it might be related to a neurological issue that presented when she was in adolescence, so naturally we had a trip to the vet. During this time the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to get scary and the vet practice, while still letting people in, was very cautious. The vet looked over her and said there was nothing obvious and to keep an eye on her. So we went away and I had hope that this might just be a phase. We monitored her but things did not improve. I collected videos but it was so hard to capture the essence of what was really going on in a video. I booked another visit and had to wait until the following week.
The next week UK lockdown went into full force and the veterinary practice had closed their doors to humans. Poppy and I waited for almost an hour in the car before someone came out in the rain and I had to shout through a crack in the window to them. I tried to show the video but it was so difficult. He took Poppy off me and returned with her 10 minutes later to tell me again that they couldn’t see any issues and to try and get better videos and come back if she still isn’t well. We went away and I cried on the way home because at this point I was convinced that it was something neurological and I would lose her. I was so upset that loosing her sight didn’t even occur to me because her eyes were fine.
Over the next 2 weeks, nothing had improved so I took her back again and this time we saw a different vet. We waited in the car, a veterinary nurse came to take her in and I waited. 10 minutes later the vet came out to my car and asked me to come into the waiting room for cats. My head was full of panic and “She is going to die” “How long does she have left” “What if they can’t fix her” and all the other crazy thoughts went through my head. I got in, sat down and the vet sat on the other side of the room. I had Poppy back in my arms and was waiting to hear the worst ever news. She spoke really calmly and softly and said “Poppy is blind”. I did not expect that. It seems so obvious now, how did I not pick this up? I froze for a couple of seconds. No, no, no they must have it wrong. She can’t be blind. “Forever?” I asked. “Yes” she replied. I cried. I held Poppy tightly and she leant into me like she was relieved I finally knew. I asked if it was neurological but she said that they could not be sure on the reason why she was blind. It could be neurological but it could also be other conditions too. She told me that due to COVID the Ophthalmologist was only taking on emergency cases, which meant that Poppy would have to wait to see a specialist to find out ‘why’. I literally felt broken. I asked her if she had some information about blind dogs and said they didn’t but there was lots of information online if I just ‘googled it’. I thanked her and we left.
I wept all the way home and nobody could believe it. When I told everyone they were so shocked and it felt like such a huge thing that would impact our lives forever. I did spend time on google but there was no one stop shop and a lot of my searches gave me information for ‘guide dogs’ (which help blind people).
After moping around for a couple of days and babying Poppy my partner said to me, in the nicest possible way, that I needed to stop crying and get up, pull myself together and do something to help her. Annoyingly, I knew he was right and that is when our journey really began.
Almost 2 years on and Poppy is just so confident and trusts me to look after her. I can take her anywhere again now and making sure I give her the support she needs to feel safe and comfortable, you would never even know she was blind. I did feel like I had lost my girl at the beginning, but now I feel like we have a bond that is unbreakable and a truly amazing life together. It is different but to me it is normal now. I wouldn’t change her for the world.