After we’d had our 2 children we decided to have a pup. I’d never had dogs before, only cats, but my ex had always has a dog – so Tymon came into our lives and for the first 12 months we all lived a ‘normal’ life. At the time we didn’t really think about rescue dogs, and thought we had picked a reliable breeder.
My ex had started gun dog training Tymon and all was going well till we noticed a cloudiness in his eyes. Our local vet confirmed cataracts and referred Tymon to the Small Animal Health Trust at Newmarket. The consultant we dealt with there was very good and arranged for Tymon to have them removed.
The operation was successful but then, at 18 months old we noticed a change in his eyes and a visit to the vet confirmed glaucoma. Again we were referred to the SAHT and the consultant there allayed our concerns about having a potentially blind dog (with out lack of experience we thought he’d have to be pts) .
For the next couple of years the treatment was to keep Tymon’s eyes from swelling to much, for which we had eye drops which we had to give daily. The consultant told us we would know by Tymon’s behaviour when they were getting to painful .. and He did tell us.. so back to Newmarket we went for the 2 eyes to be removed.
The consultant we were dealing with had been treating dogs like Tymon for 30 yrs and we were told that Tymon’s problems were generally caused by in-breeding and we gave him Tymon’s breed sheet so it could be checked by him. We were told this in the October … in December we visited my parents and coming out onto the local footpath a woman approached me asking if Tymon was a ‘Drakeshead’. She must have been checking him over as we were speaking as she asked if I would be willing to let her bitch be bred by Tymon .. so I informed her of his history and that he’d just been diagnosed with glaucoma. Her comment that she ‘didn’t mind, if I didn’t’ was like waving a red flag at a bull for me .. I really let rip, checked where she lived and then informed the consultant when we saw him next about the woman. I was so furious…
Anyway, Tymon recovered extremely well from his eye operations. His eye lids were sown together and once the hair grew back I discovered people rarely noticed that he didn’t have any eyes. To be honest half the time we forgot it ourselves he coped so well with his disability. Okay so he had to learn a few new words, ‘up’ was a curb or step, ‘careful’ was an obstacle or another dog, but once he knew them he coped well.
We had to consider how Tymon’s blindness was going to affect us in the house, once we realised what was going to happen to him . Especially as the garden in the house we lived in was on 2 levels. Doors weren’t a problem, they were either open or closed ( and he’d bang his head on them if expecting them to be open .. so we got in the habit of leaving them open .. or showing him if we’d closed one. Around the house we tried not to move furniture, even the coffee table was left in the same spot, but if it was moved we’d bring Tymon into the room and using the word ‘careful’ would show him what had been moved and to where. I suppose it’s no different to having a blind person in your home. To get outside he quickly learnt to go down the steps from the conservatory or back door, and it took no time at all for him to learn that from the conservatory he was then had to go down the 2 steps to the garden. Not once, in all the years we had him, did he fall off the top garden wall to the bottom garden. He always turned around and made his way back to the path and down via the steps.
However, once Tymon was in the fields and footpaths that he knew and loved, he went off lead and thoroughly enjoyed himself. We had a gun dog ‘dummy’ ( a bag filled with sand) which you could throw and he’d listen to it land then quarter the field, as in gun dog training, to find it. He loved that game. I can only assume that with footpaths he’d feel the longer grass on either side and know he had to stay away from that .. as he was walking, or running, he never deviated from the footpath .. it had to be seen to be believed.
Tymon had had a couple of seizures and the vets were considering tablets for him but on the one day we had a major village event on and, for a change, decided to leave Tymon at home ( he was well known in the village and very popular with the local children, with one of us going back regularly to check on him. My daughter had popped home and gave me an emergency call as she said Tymon seemed to be having a number of seizures, one after the other. I told her to phone the vet and we both arrived at the house at the same time. As soon as we saw Tymon out in the garden it was one of those moments when you knew nothing could be done .. the tablets weren’t working and the decision was made ,, with tears in our eyes we all gave Tymon a cuddle and then with his head on my lap he was given the final injection with all of us stroking him.
Tymon lived till he was 9 yrs old when he died sadly of a brain tumour. He had had a couple of seizures and the vets were considering tablets for him but on the final day we had a major village event on and, for a change, we decided to leave Tymon at home (he was well known in the village and very popular with the local children), with one of us going back regularly to check on him. My daughter had popped home and gave me an emergency call as she said he seemed to be having a number of seizures, one after the other. I told her to phone the vet and we both arrived at the house at the same time. As soon as we saw Tymon out in the garden it was one of those moments when you knew nothing could be done. The tablets were not working and the decision was made. With tears in our eyes we all gave him a cuddle and then with his head on my lap he was given the final injection with all of us stroking him.
As Tymon was only 9 years of age; the vets asked if they could perform a post mortem and the cause of death was a brain tumour, we’d been lucky that Tymon had shown no personality changes with it.
Tymon was our first dog as a family, and we had put our trust, and lack of knowledge, in the hands of his breeders and were let down. That is why it is essential to make sure you check out the breeder properly and ensure that all the necessary checks are done for your dogs health before you purchase it.
Tymon brought a lot of love into our lives but he also taught us that you don’t have to worry about adopting a dog with a disability .. they, and you, learn to cope with it and both can lead a happy life despite of it. Tymon’s disability made him well known in the local community and many people were saddened by his death .. imagine my pleasure though a year later when another local resident came up to me when I was walking our new dog Woody and introduced her blind dog ‘Smithy’ to me. Her comment .. ‘You having Tymon made us realise we wanted to help a dog with a disability as well’.