The Story of Finnegan
Part Two - I apologize, I would have written sooner but you know, I procrastinate.
Finnegan seemed like a typical puppy. Goofy, awkward, and the size of a Shetland pony. At the time we adopted Finnegan, let's just put it that it was not the most emotionally stable point in my life. I decided to stop working for a little while and I was trying to cope with the "crazy within my head". In case you are wondering, I am fine now. Finnegan can receive credit for helping me through this rough time. Walking, feeding, cleaning up after, and playing with a puppy can be great (and cheap! limited time only!) therapy.
Like I said, Finny was a pretty typical puppy. He ate, pooped, played, and napped. He liked to bound around the back yard with my neighbors' dog, acting goofy. One of his "goofy" behaviors included running full speed into the fence. At first I thought, okay, he's a puppy, they tend to be klutzy. Of course, my only other experience with another puppy involved Harris. His puppy behavior involved burying all of his favorite toys and barking at everything. And sleeping. A lot. Did I mention the barking? I did recall that Harris never ran full force into a fixed structure. Maybe this was just something Finnegan enjoyed. Who doesn't love hitting one's head?
Besides using his head as a ramming block, his eyes did not appear quite right. My husband does pretty funny imitation of it. Imagine Stevie Wonder's head bobbing but with his eyes shifting back and forth as if he has something to hide. For some reason, Steven Buscemi comes to mind. This shifty eye syndrome is technically called nystagmus and results when YOUR IRISH WOLFHOUND, WHO IS A SIGHT HOUND, CANNOT SEE VERY WELL. YOU KNOW, A BLIND SIGHT HOUND. THE KEY WORD IN THIS SENTENCE: SIGHT.
Once we realized something was not quite right, I brought him to the veterinarian for whom I used to work. He is one of my favorite veterinarians. Imagine a 60 something rugged cowboy with a shearling lined jean jacket and cowboy hat. Sort of like the Marlboro man but well, Mormon. The vet did a thorough examination of Finny's eyes and broke it to me:
Angeerah, the boy's optic nerves are not full developed. They are much smaller than they are supposed to be. I think you ought to see a veterinary opthamologist.
I have to admit that I was upset. Not just about the fact my dear Finnegan could not see very well but OH MY GOD I am going to bring my dog to a veterinary opthamologist. We made the appointment with a wonderful specialist and Finnegan had the whole examination on his eyes. She could not say definitely if his sight would worsen but she did say dogs could do just fine without their sight. Ah, yeah, I know! I have a blind cat.
So there you have it, I have a sight impaired sight hound. Cool right? I guess. He has gotten better at avoiding large obstacles like brick houses but he occasionally will run into a tree. I think his skull is extra reinforced because he recovers pretty well from these bang ups.
Enough with his disabilities, what about his abilities? Hold on I'm thinking... Just kidding. We took Finnegan to puppy pre-school and obedience classes as soon as he was old enough. Although he was not the top in his class, he did a good job. Especially with "heal" because he loved to be attached right to my side anyway. If possible, he would ride around in a snugly attached to my chest. Even now. As you can imagine, he is not so good with stay because that means HE MUST BE TWENTY FIVE FEET AWAY FROM ME FOR A WHOLE THIRTY SECONDS! Can you say co-dependent?
Finny graduated from both programs with gold stars and flying colors and only a few mishaps. I suppose I wouldn't call them mishaps, maybe just some quirky behavior. Part of puppy preschool was teaching the puppies to interact with one another without ripping each other's heads off. Finnegan, despite being the youngest pup, was the largest puppy. Shocking, I know. There was a Great Dane who was a week older but still smaller than Finny. Perhaps I had sheltered my dear puppy, I don't know, but when it came time to free play, where did Finny go? Out in the middle of the floor, getting rough and tumble with his buddies? Nope. He hid behind our chairs cowering like the boob he was. We tried to encourage him to play and he wanted nothing to do with it because of course, he would have to be more than three feet away from us and that was just unacceptable. This behavior lasted a few weeks and eventually he got the nerve to go out and play. Ever since, he has been the life of the dog park.
On a side note, I must say he was not as silly as the Borzoi litter who would come to his class. Because the school taught advanced obedience or something like that, there were mirrors all around like a dance studio. That's just what I need, watching my dog poop in the middle of the floor from three different angles! Okay, the Borzois were hysterical! When it came to free play, they did not just hang out with their mom or join the other puppies. They would immediately head to the front of the room where they could stare at their gorgeous reflections in the mirror. They would angle their heads, looking side to side, probably thinking, yeah, these bitches have nothin' on me. I think Finnegan agreed because he would often follow the Borzois around the classroom. Poor guy, he had no chance with those uptown bitches.
So it is what it is. Finnegan is a blind sight hound who loves the ladies and his mama. Who could ask for more?
To be continued...
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