My three bichons are in desperate need of grooming. As I look at them now, they look a lot like white, fluffy dust mops. These dogs have been my constant companions since my surgery. When I sleep, they sleep on and around me. When I get up, they follow me wherever I go. Right now, they are cuddled around me as I sit on the couch and write this. My dogs have kept me sane while I have been recuperating. I have read that petting a dog reduces blood pressure and is therapeutic. I believe this wholeheartedly.
I try to take pictures of these three characters. But, like camera-shy ladies, they do not cooperate. They will be sitting perfectly still, clumped together in a cute pose, but when I pull out my camera, they nervously squirm away. If I finally manage to force them to sit near each other for a picture, they will not look at the camera. “Look!” I say. They look out the window. I call their names. No response. Sometimes I can get one of them to look at me for a second, sometimes two will look. But I can never get all three to look at the camera at the same time. It is frustrating. If petting the dogs reduces my blood pressure, trying to take a decent picture of them definitely increases it.
Today was particularly frustrating, because I wanted to add one picture of all three of them to this post. Sigh. Instead, here is one picture of each of them. As I mentioned, they really need haircuts.
This is Bijou, the “Mama” of the three. She takes care of them. She keeps them in line. It is her job to let us know if they are out of food or water. She does this by clanging their bowls around until we fill them. Bijou is a cuddler. She doesn’t respond to the command “Come” but she will always respond to “Come cuddle.”
This is Zuzu. She is Bijou’s offspring with our neighbor’s Bichon. Zuzu is the only one of the three who will come when she is called. She is the most “rough and tumble” of the dogs and is least likely to cuddle. She is interested in everything and sits right next to me and watches whenever I put in my eyedrops.
And here is Bibi, the baby. She was a rescue dog that my groomer told me needed a good home. We weren’t expecting to add a third dog to our household, but I fell in love with her and brought her home. She just turned two but still acts like a puppy. She has not left my side since I had my surgery.
Throughout my journey into low vision living, these dogs have been great for me. This is especially true since my surgery. Their presence is calming, but they also encourage me to go outside my comfort zone. On sunny days, they want to be outside. Their eyes plead with me to take them out on the porch. So, I leave the safety of the inside and sit on the porch with them. They want to go farther. So, I put them on leashes and go for a short walk. Step by step, they encourage me to get some fresh air, get some exercise. I’m still hesitant to walk far because of my blind left eye and my horrible depth perception. With one or more dogs as my companions, though, I feel braver and challenge myself to take a risk and go just a bit farther each day. I am grateful for these little friends. Whether we are outside getting exercise or inside lying on the sofa, they are always delighted to be by my side. What a gift that is to me as I continue to walk into the unknown world of low vision living.