i was going to sulk for a bit longer but i cannot let arthur go without sharing the part of his life story that i know.
Carol · Aug. 17, 2010
shelagh and jamie can fill in the very much more they know from living and loving him as part of their family for so many years.
no one at saints knew arthur...he was before saints began but i knew him, my family knew him and all of us were better for having known him too.
arthur came to my attention from magda..my partner in crime when running KP. he lived in the backyard next door to her. the family was going thru a divorce...the dog had lived alone and totally blind in the backyard for several years. he cried a lot.
it wasn't til he came to us that i realized much of his crying was from pain. one of his blind eyes was bulging and just lightly brushing it against the back of the couch would have him whimpering in pain.
the vets said the eye had to go. arthur was my very first fully blind dog...the thought of taking the eye of a blind dog really upset me..i don't know why it bothered me so much, but back then, it really did.
one of the vets offerred an alternative option...we could under sedation withdraw some fluid from inside the eye and inject an equal amount of medication back in which would slowly and painlessly cause the eye to atrophy and shrink.
seemed like a good idea to me...then i was not some poor blind dog eye sucker.
so arthur went in for the proceedure...it did not work out the way it was supposed to. firstly it was hugely painful for him, i was frantic the first couple of days following and secondly...that eye did not shrink.
the vet suggested trying it again...over my dead body. so we went back to our regular vet and took the eye right out. i cannot even remember how many eyes i have had removed from so many animals in the years since, but arthur was my first.
arthur was a pretty amazing dog, he was a very large and stunning PB german shepherd.....he could track a ball flying thru the air in high speed and catch it on the very first bounce. i watched him walk the perimeter of all of the walls and literally create a map of the house and yard in his head. as long as i never moved things around, arthur could "see" very well.
he was so good with the dogs that were there before him...tyra, tally, copper, bill, wilbur, brew and mickey D...but he totally sucked with any new ones. arthur's blindness made him vulnerable so as soon as a new dog showed up, arthur would pick a fight with him or her.
and he always lost...i sometimes fostered younger, healthier and bigger dogs back then. not only was arthur blind but he wasn't mean, he was just afraid of unknown dogs so he would try to intimidate them. but he always got his ass kicked. once he got beat up he let them alone...he just needed for some reason to try to be tough and scary even tho he wasn't.
i had a friend in rescue way back then...she wanted to adopt arthur for her own...i loved this dog deeply, i wanted to keep him but couldn't unless i was going to give up rescue, which i wasn't. she wasn't going to give up rescue either so the answer to her was no too. arthur could not live with a constant line of new dogs going in and out, it was not fair.
the only dog i ever brought in that he loved immediately and totally was...get this...annabelle. she was a little pitty/rotti puppy with a fractured leg and a cone on her head. we used to call her "the train wreck"...that puppy with way overdeveloped jaws, destroyed more shit than any dog i have had before or since.
and she LOVED to chow down on arthur too. he adored her...he played with her for hours at a time and when she finally fell asleep in total puppy exhaustion, he would lay in front of her with his nose tucked inside her cone waiting for her to wake up again.
i can still see him, his breath gently fluffing the fur on her face as he waited so patiently for her to wake up and chew on him again.
this blind dog had a really crappy and isolated life and yet he loved and trusted a little broken but totally maniacal puppy.
when shelagh and jamie came along to possibly adopt him...they had done their research, they knew way more than i did about living with blind dogs. they had lady, a beautiful old shepherd with bad hips and an interesting history of some pretty funky behaviors that they had worked thru with her and already were interviewing trainers to help them learn to care for arthur as best as they could..
i knew as soon as i met them that they were perfect for arthur. that he would forever, for the rest of his life, be happy, well loved and safe.
i don't get many happily ever after endings in rescue anymore. but arthur got one. and for these past 6 years, when i doubt..i would think about his now happy life...of the photos i saw of him chasing balls down an open and sandy beach.
and i think about all of the things that arthur taught me about living with blind dogs and sucking out their eyes and seeing a gentleness and compassion and caring so deeply felt for a nutty train wreck of a puppy.
arthur changed my life. he was a gift to me for a very short while and then he became a gift to his family for the rest of his life.
he is one of my legends...a legend of a disabled dog not afraid to live.
king arthur, brave, true and full of honor and absolute, good will.