FriendshipCollar Reps: Brittany & Copper

@the_blind_beagle

“At the end of January 2019, one night Copper started closing his eyes and they became red and inflamed. We took him to our local vet the next morning and they thought it was an allergic reaction. It kept getting worse and within about a week, he was blind in both eyes. We took him to the University of Florida small animal hospital (the best research vet in the area) multiple times, and watched him grow more in pain without answers. His retinal detachment caused secondary glaucoma which caused his eyes to bulge and be very painful. During this time, Copper lost his appetite -for the first time ever- and started declining, hardly moving, not playing with toys, or anything. We didn’t know what the future held for him and were devastated.

At the end of February 2019 we made the tough decision to have his eyes removed. The very next day Copper’s tail was wagging again and you could tell he was pain free. The vets never figured out what happened to him.”

♡ Your bestie’s age and breed?

Copper is five years old and is a purebred Beagle

♡ Describe your dog in 3 words!

Sassy, friendly, loving 💗

♡ How did Copper find his way to you?

We picked Copper up from a breeder when he was 8 weeks old. I call him my “dream come true”! I am so glad he is still with us.

♡ Where’s your dog’s favorite place to go?

He loves exploring new places (lots of new smells). His favorite familiar place is probably Grandma’s house!

♡ What does your BFF do that always makes you smile?

If he is hogging the bed and you make him move, he lets you know how he feels with a big grumpy sigh. He is such a diva. 

♡ Have you ever traveled with your bestie?

Yes we will take road trips and he actually does better in the car now than when he had eyes. He is less anxious!

♡ How do you introduce Copper to a new place? 

With patience. Being a beagle, he always would want to go sniff around thoroughly, and that has even increased since losing his sight. He loves exploring new places but is still a bit timid if it’s loud or a lot of people are around. But he is learning and adjusting each time!

♡ Do you have to be careful about rearranging furniture in your home? 

You are supposed to, but we have moved into a whole new house recently (poor Copper)! He learned his way around within a few weeks though after bumping into things a lot. We would call him a Roomba! Haha 😅

♡ Does he navigate new places using his other senses, or how does that work? 

Yes he has quite the nose being a hound dog, and that sense has greatly improved even. He will be asleep under the covers in our bedroom and wake up when someone gets food out of the fridge in the kitchen. His sense of hearing has also strengthened. 

♡ What it is like having a dog that goes blind? 

The vet told us initially it would be harder on us than it would be on him, and they were right. We didn’t know what to expect so we were devastated. 💔 But truthfully, after a few weeks or so he was just the same dog as before. Not much has changed! The first few weeks we had to guide him around holding his collar a lot, which he didn’t like at first. I think he felt like he had lost his freedom. Over time he learned to trust us as his “seeing eye humans” and learned a couple new words like “careful” and “up”. He does walk a bit slower as to be more cautious, and sleeps a bit more, but other than that he is the same.

♡ Have you made any changes for Copper?

Honestly the only thing that has really changed is I say his name, or keep making a sound if I want him to follow me if he is going in the wrong direction.

♡ Cute things about his personality?

Copper has always been full of personality! He is quite the diva… we spoil him as an only child! I call him a person because he really thinks he is one. He even sleeps in our bed under the covers with his head on a pillow. 🛏️ He loves meeting new people and is very friendly. I love how much he loves us and how excited he is to greet us every single day. 

♡ What does your daily pup routine look like?

Copper LOVES to sleep so a lot of times I get up before him and have to drag him out of bed late morning! We go on a quick “W” (walk), eat, and then he loves to snooze most of the afternoon while I work from home. 💤 He always has to be near me, which I love. Whenever I am eating, he has his head in my lap begging for scraps. His (and my) favorite part of the day is when my husband comes home from work! He gets SO excited, as if he hadn’t seen him in a year, every single day. We call it his “ugly cry”! 😭 He enjoys playing with his dad with his large assortment of toys, just like he used to when he had eyes. In the evening he is always trying to get us to go to bed early. He sleeps in our bed and hogs it even though it’s a King. 

♡ How did you teach him how high to step for stairs? 

He learned to walk slower so that helps so once he hits the step he knows to step up because he rememberers that when he had eyes. We will also say “up” when a step is coming. We have the same couches and bed so he remembers the height of those from when he had eyes. He waits til he touches it then jumps up. It’s pretty amazing. 

♡ Has he pooped anywhere he shouldn’t have?

Not since potty training as a puppy, which only took about a month! However now that he can’t see, he has peed on the sidewalk instead of the grass sometimes. Hopefully he doesn’t poop on the sidewalk!

♡ What is it like having a dog that cannot see?

It’s hardly any different than having a dog who can see. We don’t realize that dogs don’t rely on their eyes as much as humans. Especially beagles- their nose is their strongest sense. Copper has always “seen through his nose” really!

♡ What does Copper think about meeting new friends?

He is still adjusting to meeting other dogs depending on how much energy they have. If they jump on him, it’s a no. He prefers female dogs but he likes humans more. 

♡ Anything that might have surprised you about having a dog lose their sight?

We were surprised how much the same his life really is. He is very independent still and we really haven’t had to change our life much at all. I wish other people would react better sometimes though. We get a lot of comments about “how great it is we didn’t put him down or get rid of him”. It’s heartbreaking to think that’s a lot of people’s go-to reaction. 

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