Bella & Maud by Edward & Prue
Bella is definitely getting on well, although having a blind dog is quite a steep learning curve for all of us. We have been letting her get used to the house routine so she is starting to get some predictability. We carry her around as little as possible. She is expected to get about the house and garden by voice encouragement only. We are trying to get her to be able to find her own way about and she already seems to have memorised the area near the back door having no trouble going up and down the shallow steps. She is able to find her way around a small part of the garden. Although she can go wherever she likes, there are large parts she never goes, but as she becomes more familiar she is free to expand her territory, as she likes.
When she goes for walks on the lead we are careful that she never bumps into anything. So, on the lead, she is becoming quite confident and will crack on a pace, a very respectable human walking pace – except when she is having a sniff – which is often. When we have been out on a walk with her a couple of people have remarked that she looks a lot better in her demeanour than we first had her, which is very encouraging. She is certainly starting to look like a dog with her feet under the table.
Maud seems to be a very frightened little girl, although if you approach her slowly she will snuggle up and soak up loads of fuss. Yes, she does roll over ‘to have her tummy tickled’, but we think this is nervous submissive behaviour. We are working on her being more confident. We had a really good sign that she was being herself; She was lying on the grass when a pigeon happened to walk rather near to her. She gave it the look – and then chased it, barking. Just what we want to see, a bit of spirit.
When out walking she seemed not to pull on the extendable lead and so we sometimes let her run free if we go to the woods. She rarely ventures more than a few feet from us. This is a big help when one of us is walking both dogs, as Bella needs to be on the lead for reassurance. She is capable of walking a fair distance, easily a mile or two. It’s hard to say whether she actually enjoys the walk, but it’s early days and once she gets into the routine she might have more fun. Maud is no problem with food: she has a very healthy appetite. Maud and Bella seem to get on well together, no antagonism at all. We hope that by letting them get on with it in their own time they will develop a bond.