My Glaucoma Follow-Up (& answers to questions about Glaucoma testing, Cues for blind doggies & Dancing for old doggies…)

Last week, my human, Hsin-Yi, took me back to see the Vet Opthalmologist at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital (SASH) for a follow-up check on my Glaucoma Sickie.

As usual, I always have to get on to the scales in reception first to check my weight – hey, even an old girl has to watch her figure, you know! ;-) I weighed 67kg (148lbs), which is good. My proper “adult” weight through most of my life has always been about 70kg (154lbs) but since I got older, my humans have been keeping me a bit underweight on purpose, because it’s less stressy for my joints and heart. It does make me look a bit more bony – my hip bones jut out a bit more and I don’t have my nice curvy bum anymore – but Hsin-Yi says “health before vanity!” :P

Hsin-Yi was actually worried that maybe I should be even lighter – like maybe 65kg (143lbs)? Especially now that I have my “puffy heart” (DCM) as well but she asked the vet and the vet said that I’m looking good now and I’m fine at 67kg. Because I’m a really big, tall girl (I’m about 35″ at the shoulder) – if I lose any more weight, the vet said that will probably be too thin for me. I am the more “solid”, European type of Dane anyway, so I always look more chunky compared to many of the Danes we see in Australia. This makes Hsin-Yi paranoid when she sees me next to all those slim, dainty Danes because I look “fat” next to them but the vet felt my body and said that it was all “hard muscle”, not fat at all! ;-)

Me on the scales…

Being fat is the worst thing that can happen to any doggie because it brings so many sickies and makes it so tiring & ouchie for us to walk around (we see so many fat doggies waddling around, panting and struggling to keep up) – and yet it is the one thing that is so controllable. You can’t really prevent Cancer Sickies or Heart Sickies or Bloat or lots of other scary things – but the one thing you CAN do is keep us at a healthy weight  (it’s not like we can help ourselves to yummies, so it’s totally the humans’ responsibility whether we over-eat and exercise enough! :P ) – so it seems such a shame when humans don’t do that.

We always feel so sorry when we see pet doggies in the street that are overweight (and we see a lot!) because although we know their humans are probably doing it out of love, they are actually doing the worst thing for their doggies. We know it’s hard resisting the ‘PuppyDog Eyes’ but sometimes you’ve just got to be tough to be kind.

Well, I had a great check-up with the vet opthalmologist! First, she checked the pressure in both my eyes and they were both really good! My good eye was 12 and my “blind” eye was actually 10 (normal eye pressure is below 25; the day I had my acute glaucoma, the pressure in my blind eye was 67!!!!!) – so my eye drop medicines are working really well to keep the pressure down. This is great news because the vet opthalmologist said that it often doesn’t work for a lot of doggies – their eye pressure starts climbing again after a few weeks – but with me, it seems to be working so far and hopefully will work for a few years yet. Paws crossed!

The other GREAT piece of news is that I may not be totally blind in my bad eye!!!! :D The vet opthalmologist was really shocked because she said normally doggies who suffered the kind of high pressure I did would have too much nerve damage and wouldn’t have any vision left but…I’m a miracle! Hee! Hee! She tested my eyes and she said that I definitely still have some good vision left – although it’s hard to tell exactly how much since us doggies can’t read a chart. Hm…yeah, well, that’s only because stupid humans don’t know how to make an eye chart for doggies. If they made one like this, I’m sure all doggies could tell vets exactly how much they can see! ;-)

Can you read the bottom line?
WOOF!

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Actually, Hsin-Yi wasn’t totally surprised because she had been doing some testing by herself at home – she covered my good eye and then asked me to walk around, just using my “blind” eye – and I had no problems moving around through the house, turning around, without bumping into anything and I wasn’t really hesitating or anything at all.

She also asked me to do the “Touch” trick (touch the back of her hand with my nose) using only my “blind” eye – and again, I could find her hand easily, wherever she moved it. Of course. I could be using my nose to help me – but if I was totally blind in that eye, it would not have been so easy.

The vet said that I definitely don’t have 100% vision but it’s pretty good enough! :P Most of the damage is to my peripheral vision – so if you come up straight in front of me, I can still see OK on my left side – but if you come up behind me on my left or straight from the side on my left, I might not see you and I might get a fright. But mostly, I’m coping really well! :D I will be going back in a month’s time for another follow-up check.

Well, Hsin-Yi had taken her camera machine and was hoping to make a little movie of me having my eye pressure checked with the tonometer, so that we could show you – but the vet opthalmologist was a bit “shy” and she didn’t even want us taking photos during the consult (although Hsin-Yi sneaked the one of me in the consult room above, when the vet went out to get something! ;-) ) – so I can only show you the pictures we got in reception.

As for my heart, that’s going great too. They had another listen again and my heart murmur is only “very minor” now – they think that it probably sounded a lot louder and more serious that day because I was in so much pain from the glaucoma and my heart was racing! ;-)

Hsin-Yi asked the vet about whether I shouldn’t be doing certain things – such as chasing my ball or training & dancing – because it might be stressy for me but they said no, it’s very important I continue to live life as normal and continue doing all the things I like doing. I’m not dying yet! ;-) I’m not even in heart failure yet – lots of doggies have “enlarged hearts” (DCM) and live for years & years without ever developing heart failure, until they die of something else. So as long as I don’t do anything stupid – like go jogging in the midday sun (DUH! Who would do that anyway??) – then it’s fine for me to just continue doing everything like before.

OK, and now I’m going to hand the blog over to Hsin-Yi ‘coz we had a few questions from our readers about my glaucoma and stuff, which I’ll let Hsin-Yi answer here.

Slobbers, Honey

*****

 

Dorothy S from Michigan asked: “Sometime let me know if I should make a point of having my animals’ eye pressure checked?”

- and Jed & Abby in Merryland said: “We learned from Sissy’s mom about canine glaucoma testing. We now get it every year as part of our regular physicals. Honey’s onset was so sudden that annual testing probably wouldn’t have made a difference, but it might help other pet parents to be aware the testing is available to detect slower onset glaucoma.”

I asked our vet opthalmologist about the benefits of having regular glaucoma testing and whether this could have prevented what happened to Honey. She said that while glaucoma is usually a slow onset, chronic condition in humans, in dogs it is very different and is generally an acute condition which happens suddenly with no warning. Honey’s case is a classic: fine the day before, sudden onset overnight. There are a few cases of dogs’ eye pressures gradually increasing but it’s rare – there is just very little “slower onset glaucoma” in dogs – it’s mostly the acute kind.

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The Pressure Test

So basically, while there is nothing wrong in testing, it will not guarantee anything – not unless you’re doing it EVERY day (even then, things could change in the course of 24hrs). Honey could have been tested the day before and her eye pressures could have been perfectly normal. In fact, if you’ll remember, Honey DID see a veterinary eye specialist in Nov last year – so only about 9 months ago – back in Newcastle, when they found those little benign iridocillary cysts in her eyeball and he checked her eye pressure then and they were perfectly normal. So that is not even a year ago – and so if you were just doing “annual checks on eye pressure” – you could still have what happened to Honey.

So just checking the pressure alone doesn’t tell you much and might not be worth doing, depending on hard it is for you to get hold of a tonometer (the instrument that measures eye pressure). I don’t know about the US & UK but here in Australia, most vet clinics don’t have that piece of equipment lying around (it costs about $6,000) – only veterinary opthalmologists have them, which means that if you want to have your dog’s eye pressure measured, you’ll have to make an appointment with a vet opthalmologist and pay the specialist fees (here, it’s around $200 per consult!). For a lot of people, this just isn’t affordable and even if you could afford it, you wonder whether it is worth the money when the test doesn’t really give you any guarantees. Sure, if your dog’s eye pressure just happens to be spiking at the same moment that you take him in to see the opthalmologist, once a year, then great – you’ll pick up the danger signals and be able to do something about it. But what’s the chances of that happening for everybody? And if you go to the specialist and have it measured – and it’s normal – that doesn’t mean that the pressure can’t suddenly spike the next day.

So yes, if your normal vet happens to have a tonometer and your dog will hold still enough for him to measure the pressures in their eyeballs, why not? It won’t do any harm. But I don’t know if it’s worth you making a special appointment to see a specialist to measure the pressure, unless your dog is a high risk breed (see below).

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The best defence…

The most important thing to be aware  of is that the pressure test does not give you any guarantees so don’t get complacent just because the pressure was normal. Our vet opthalmologist said that far more important is how quickly you react when you notice something is wrong with your dog – because that is what will save vision in their eye and reduce their suffering.

It would be terrible if you got a result of “normal pressure” and then the next night when your dog started acting funny, you just didn’t think much of it because you felt reassured that their eye pressure was measured as “normal” yesterday… Doesn’t mean anything. They could still be getting acute glaucoma now.

So the best thing is to know your own dog really well – so you can tell that something is wrong. And watch out for the signs of high pressure in the eyeball, such as the pupil looking “blue” and opaque (not the same as cataracts) and the dog squinting a lot and unable to open their eyes, as well as acting like they are in a LOT of pain in the head area (biggest sign of glaucoma). The pain behaviour varies of course, from dog to dog – in Honey’s case, she was just very unresponsive and kept hanging her head down and I could feel her heart racing when I put my hand on the side of her chest; she was also nauseous and vomiting from the pain and had trouble standing and walking.

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The Angle Test

Our vet opthalmologist mentioned that there is another kind of  “gluacoma testing” which people may get confused by when they hear about it – and this is when they check the “angles” in the eye. If you’ll remember my silly diagram of the eyeballs with the analogy of the “slats” that open to drain the fluid out of the eyball – all dogs are born with these slats at different angles. If you have a “poorer” angle, then you’re more likely to develop glaucoma – although not necessarily. Again, there are no guarantees – it is just a statistical likelihood. It’s like saying if you have bigger breasts, you have a higher chance of getting breast cancer – but that doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely get breast cancer nor does it mean that if you have small breasts, you won’t get breast cancer.

There are many dogs who are born with “poor angles” who never develop glaucoma in their lifetimes – and other dogs that started out with good angles which then “collapsed” with ageing (such as in Honey’s case). So just checking your dog’s angle gives no guarantees. Besides, you have to consider also whether to keep subjecting your dog to these tests (especially if your dog is the anxious, panicky type which might get very stressed out and need to be sedated) when the results might mean very little.

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Exception to the rule…

However, there are certain breeds which are considered at high risk of glaucoma, such as the American Cocker Spaniel. And so this ‘angle test’ is used by good breeders of such high risk breeds, when they are considering breeding from their dogs. If the dog has very “poor” angles in a high risk breed, then you probably shouldn’t breed from him/her, because you’re adding the 2 negative factors together – so increasing the likelihood of producing puppies who will suffer with problems. So the ‘angle test’ is really used more for good breeders to determine breeding suitability than as a test for pet owners to determine risk.

* (Again, this is why it’s so important to only buy pups from decent, ethical breeders who health test, as opposed to BackYard Breeders – think of all the suffering they cause to the puppies born, just because they don’t really care what they’re breeding together. And by the way, “registered breeder” doesn’t necessarily mean good breeder – it’s fairly easy to get registered and for puppies to “have papers” – doesn’t mean a thing. It all comes down to the health tests the breeders do; their experience of the breed and how well they select the parents and match the pedigrees (not too much inbreeding) and how honest they are about their own dogs’ faults.)

Note that our vet opthalmologist said that glaucomca can affect all dogs, including crossbreeds – she’s seen many mix-breeds with “poor angles” too – so it isn’t just a purebreed thing. So you can’t get complacent just because your dog isn’t a “high risk breed” or is a mutt. There are no guarantees.

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2 brown dawgs asked: “Since Honey’s vision may become more impaired if the pressure rises in the other eye, are you using verbal cues for her for everyday things, like saying “out” when a door is open? I have heard that this is a good thing to do if you have a dog that might eventually have vision problems.”

It’s funny but we’ve always preferred using verbal cues rather than hand signals for communicating with Honey – and so in this respect, we won’t really have to change our routines too much.  It’s actually something that has always got us in trouble in training class – because most dog training seems to move towards the dog only responding to hand & body signals, without verbal cues – whereas we have always focused more on Honey responding to verbal cues, regardless of our body language.

A lot of this has been because of our Dancing – in traditional obedience & other dog sports, it’s common to want the dog to always respond to a specific movement or gesture of your body, without you having to say anything. So for example, a dog that will Sit as soon as you raise your hand in an upward movement or a dog that will come when you wave your arms wide…etc…but in dancing, that would be a disaster! :P I need Honey to still do HER moves, regardless of what I’m doing with MY body. Because in one routine, I might need her to Sit while I’m swaying around her – in another routine, I might need her to Sit while I’m in front of her, waving my arms above my head – and in yet another routine, I might need her to Sit while I’m facing away from her…she needs to learn to ignore all those different physical cues and just listen to what I’m telling her to do, even if it contradicts the body movements. If she doesn’t then it would seriously hamper my creative freedom when I’m making up choreographies for our dance routines because I would always need to move a certain way to get her to move a certain way. How boring and restrictive! :P

So I have always aimed for Honey responding to me verbally only. I only consider our dance steps “properly trained” when she can do them on verbal cues only, without any hand signals. For example, a lot of people can only get their dogs to spin if they do that huge arm movement waving their arms around – whereas I have worked towards getting Honey to spin even if my arms are folded or even if I’m facing away from her! :-) We haven’t achieved this level with all our dance steps yet but I’m always working towards it.

So yeah, I don’t think I would have any trouble communicating with and guiding Honey even if she was totally blind – based only on giving her verbal cues. I sometimes play this game with her anyway where I hide in another room and get her to do things just based on the verbal cues I’m calling out to her – even if she can’t see me at all! ;-)  I’ve also tried it for fun when she can only hear my voice through the phone (eg, when I’m overseas) – it’s so funny because she looks around the room, wondering where my voice is coming from! :lol: – but she does still respond to the verbal cues I’m giving her, even if I’m just a disembodied voice coming out of the Skype screen! ;-)

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dmdeedee said: Please don’t stress this poor old girl and make her do tricks and dance. She has aged and is entitled to spend her remaining years quiet and relaxing, just like old people want to do!

Well, I have to say that I found this comment very hurtful and offensive. And I think a lot of “old people” would be quite offended too at the suggestion that they all just want to spend their “remaining years” sitting around “quiet & relaxing” – and waiting to die! :roll:

I don’t “make” Honey do anything – we do things together as a team and one of the things we happen to enjoy doing together is “tricks & dancing”.  But it is always done with Honey’s voluntary participation and I am always careful to make sure that the experience is not “stressful” for her. In fact, one of the reasons I pulled out of competing in Canine Freestyle since moving to Australia (in spite of all the positive attention we receive as the only Dane in the sport) is because they are so much more competitive here and take everything so much more seriously. I don’t enjoy that kind of intense, over-competitive atmosphere and I don’t think Honey does either, based on my observation of her behaviour – I feel that it puts too much pressure on her. So despite a lot of urging from people and the promise of “titles” for Honey, I have kept out of the competition ring. I’ve always cared more about my dog’s “happy attitude” than letters after her name.

Similarly, we have been asked for 2 years running to take part in Australia’s Got Talent. We have had the organisers calling me and begging me several times but I have always said no, as I felt that it would put unfair pressure on Honey. If I was the kind of person that you seemed to be suggesting, who only cared about ‘using’ Honey for my own ego, then I would certainly not have turned down the chance to appear on national TV and all the associated celebrity attention!! I have also turned down various offers and opportunities overseas- such as when Jimmy Kimmel in the US called me on the phone to personally invite me & Honey to appear on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE (with all costs paid) – because I felt that they would be too stressful to Honey. So I find it incredibly insulting and hurtful that someone would make such a comment in such a tone.

I also don’t understand why there seems to be this snobbery towards “tricks & dancing” – as if it is some un-natural embarrassment and an unworthwhile activity for a dog to be engaging in. I’ve had similar attitudes in the past from other Dane people – especially Dane breeders & showers – who accused me of insulting Honey and their “majestic breed” because of our dancing and all the other training that Honey has achieved. Somehow, they seem to feel that a vacuous couch potato is a more “majestic” representation of the breed…go figure.

Humans are a pretty ego-centric bunch. If a dog is doing something to “help” man – like guide him when blind or herd sheep for him, oh, that is a “noble” activity and worthwhile doing – but if a dog is doing something which doesn’t seem to have any practical value to man – that’s “just for fun” – then that’s seen as a waste of time and somehow degrading.

Well, let me shatter your illusions: to a dog EVERYTHING is a “trick”. Do you think it is normal, natural behaviour for a dog to always be walking attached to a leash by our side? Do you think it’s normal, natural behaviour for a dog to be expected to round up prey animals like sheep but then not attack them? Do you think it’s normal, natural behaviour for a dog to stand stacked in a show ring, with his head held up, while a stranger comes to feel his balls? Do you think it’s normal, natural behaviour for a dog to be sniffing for drugs all day? Do you think it’s normal, natural behaviour for a dog to have to put up with being mauled by strange children and expected to “play” with all the strange dogs thrust into his face at the park? Do you think it’s normal, natural behaviour for a dog to keep chasing a rubber ball and bring it back??

NO! They are ALL “tricks” that we have trained our dogs to do for our own benefits and pleasures. So I don’t see why you should get snobby about a dog who is trained to watch and communicate with his human so well that they can move together in harmony to music Vs. a dog who is “trained” to hasssle his human for attention and treats by jumping up or barking incessantly or hogging the couch. Oh, but I guess you would say the latter example is a dog who is not being “stressed” and is allowed to “relax”, huh?

I made a specific point of asking the vet whether we should be refraining from doing certain things now or cutting some activities out of Honey’s lifestyle – and yes, I mentioned the dancing & training – and the vet was adamant that we should just continue life as before. She said the worst thing we could do for Honey was to treat her like some dying old invalid, just because she has a few “issues” now – which are all perfectly normal and expected at her age. In fact, Honey is in very good condition for her age with better muscle tone, fitness, flexibility and mental abilities, than a lot of Danes younger than her. The vet said that they usually expect to see problems in Danes long before Honey’s age – so she is doing very well to only start showing it now. And part of the reason she has remained so fit for so long is because she has always had such a full life, with so much physical and mental stimulation through her social experiences and training.  If anything, the vet said that the more physically unfit a dog becomes, the more mental stimulation they need from “training type activities” to help keep them happy.

As for Honey dancing – well, I think she has answered that question herself. I set up the video the other day to film me clicker training Muesli a new trick (oh yes, there goes another accusation: training cats!!!!! My poor abused animals and the terrible lives they lead with me…) – but before I could do anything with Muesli, Honey decided SHE wanted to get some action! :P I had put on some music in the background and was just boogie-ing around by myself as I set up the room – and Honey suddenly started “dancing” with me. It was very sweet and funny – and I was delighted that the video happened to be rolling already so it was all caught on camera.

So you can see for yourself – does this look like a dog who is stressed and being “forced” to do anything?? Or is this a dog telling me that she is ready and able to get back into doing something she loves?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v0CUzt0vR8

If the movie doesn’t play, try here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v0CUzt0vR8

* We have been noticing that Mozilla Firefox is having a lot of trouble with Youtube videos recently (“Flash plugin crashed”) – if this is happening to you, try viewing it with Internet Explorer. There should be no problems on IE. We always have both browers on our computer and whenever a website doesn’t work on one browser, it will usually work on the other.

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34 Responses to My Glaucoma Follow-Up (& answers to questions about Glaucoma testing, Cues for blind doggies & Dancing for old doggies…)

  1. jet says:

    You know, with all your visits to Sash, you might end up on an episode of ‘Bondi Vet’! Maybe that is why the eye doctor was shy, they must be in there filming all the time! :)

    Also, don’t worry about people who say things like dmdeedee – I appreciated your response, but often people who make those kinds of comments don’t really have a relationship with their dogs beside sitting next to them on the couch. Dogs were domesticated because of the mutually positive effects of the dog and human working together. If you dont’ work with your dog on something, anything, then I would argue that you are missing out on the deep relationship which is built on trust and working together!

  2. Nida says:

    Oh man, people and their comments. Honey is so healthy, and she looks so happy, of course as she gets older there will be medical issues but I’m sure one of the things that keeps her healthy is her active lifestyle – in terms of daily walks and training. Everyone knows (everyone with a brain, that is) that dogs need stimulation – whether it’s in the form of herding sheep, going out, or training for something – daily.

  3. Veronique Marouze says:

    Thank you for the update on Honey eyes. So happy she has still vision on her left eye. Thanks too for the information. The video with Honey startingto dance is cute

  4. Minabey says:

    Another great post! Thanks for sharing about Honey’s check up. I’m sure everyone is relieved about the result. Yay, Honey! You go, girl! About dmdeedee’s comment, I’d like to think she’s coming from a concerned standpoint, not meaning to cause any offense (at least,I hope). Not that I agree with her comment. On the contrary, I believe the opposite. For an active girl like Honey (or any dog), keeping her “quite and relaxing” will actually do her more harm and will definitely affect her quality of life. Her life will be dull and depressing and without purpose. The activities she does keeps her mind young and active and that’s also why she’s a confident, healthy dog.

    Hsin-Yi, thank you for sharing your experiences.

  5. parlance says:

    Great post. Interesting and helpful.

    I know what you mean about Honey liking to use her brain and do tricks or dance. Penny is the same. Her tail starts windmilling when she sees me standing with a clicker or putting some equipment up in the kitchen. She loves it.

    Like you, I have had to make the hard decision to stop activities that don’t suit Penny. But there are plenty of things she still loves to do.

  6. Mango says:

    The most important part of this post was the advice to let Honey live her life. I have the same challenges with Mango and his chronic lameness. There is no benefit to keeping him from bouncing when he is happy. You can’t keep your dog in a bubble and if your dog wants to have fun, let them.

    Oh and of course trick training is something both my dogs LOVE. I have modified things a bit. When going around objects, Mango will always opt to go counter clockwise because of his lameness. I used to try and make him go clockwise, but now I just let him have his fun.

    The information on glaucoma was very helpful (if a tad disheartening since there is little hope of testing to prevent a crisis situation like Honey had). Having read this and learned from experience with my little hound, the point to remember is that a sudden painful eye condition is an emergency and should be treated as such.

    Note to readers – if your dog does develop sudden painful eyeballs, make sure the vet considers glaucoma and if he/she doesn’t, find one that will. I still think my little hound could have been saved if our vet hadn’t sent us home with eye drops instead of referring us to a specialist. That bad vet did not even consider glaucoma and treated her for infection (which leaves me wondering if the eye medication had steroids which would have increased the pressure). Live and learn I suppose.

  7. Lilli says:

    Thank you for very interesting post! And you are so right about that Honey shouldn’t just lie down and relax but enjoy life even though she’s a senior dog right now. I would like too when I’m senior :)

    And this time I also have some other issue. I have to make a 5 minutes speech about something in my Speech communication class at Open University, and I would like to do it about clicker training. I already asked my teacher if it’s ok for me to do it even though I’ve never used it myself, just read and wathed others use it, and she said it’s ok. So I wanted to ask you if it’s ok I use you and Honey as an example in my speech? And could it be possible to have a picture of Honey and you training together or could I also use a small clip from one of your training videos (I’m not sure if I have enough time for that but I want to be sure, just in case. I haven’t really thought about the speech and how I do it, yet)?

    Let there be many exiting days for all of you!

    -Lilli-

  8. Lassiter Chase and Benjamin says:

    We are glad you still have some vision left in the bad eye. That’s great you were still able to do stuff when your good eye was covered. One of Mommy’s relatives has some eye problems. And the doctors tell her to wear a patch over the good eye to make the bad eye stronger. (That’s just something we thought about when you mentioned you covered Honey’s good eye.) Mommy’s relative is young — so not sure if wearing the patch is something to help since she is young — or if it helps older humans too. Don’t know. It’s just a random thought we wanted to mention.

  9. Icelandic Ally from NYC says:

    I am so happy to hear that you are doing so great Honey :D

    As for “sitting on the couch resting”, that is absolutely the WORST you can do. Research have shown that active elders are healthier, happier and live longer than complacent elders. Why should it be different for dogs? I dont recommend over exerting yourself but by all means I think you should keep dancing, walking and enjoying your life to the fullest Honey :D

    Hsin-Yi, I just want to say that the reason why Honey is the dog she is, healthy, confident, happy, is because of YOU AND PAUL. You have done an exemplary job of “raising” her. Please don´t let peoples rude comments get to you.

  10. YAY for you Honey! You are the best! I know I feel so happy when I do clicker training with Cathy. It’s lots of fun and I would never want to stop. Once I went to the pet resort for a week and missed out on our clicker fun that whole time! The play dates with the Yellow Lab down the way were lots of fun but I sure missed doing our tricks (I kept wanting to shake paws with the cutie who took me out to the park everyday but she didn’t know what else I could do!).

    I am so glad that you are feeling better and that your eye is not totally blind.

    Cathy says: dmdeedee sounds like her ex-mother-in-law whi insisted that the safest place for a baby in a car is in the mother’s lap! Oh well, consider the source…

    Thanks to both of you for your inspiration to so many of us…

    Nibbles and love from Daisy and Cathy

  11. Sam says:

    I’m a little startled by dmdeedee’s comment – why would you quit interacting with your pup, dancing, doing tricks? We started Sam in agility at 9 1/2 (within reason, of course) and not only did it revive him, it’s helped give him more energy and flexibility. I would never ever retire a dog to the point of doing nothing – we change the degree of difficulty, sure, but you never ever stop giving them something to live for.

    Sam

  12. Howdy Honey, we are so glad your Vet visit went well. It sounds like your Vet knows best as does Hsin-Yi in what is right for you. We think if you were left to ‘rest on your bed’ for the rest of your life, you would not be happy at all! Everyone is entitled to their views, and some we agree with and some we don’t. Don’t worry Hsin-Yi, everyone who knows you and reads this blog, knows what a fabulous life Honey is having. Keep on dancing cause we love watching. Have a lovely weekend. No worries, and love, Stella and Rory (and Carol)

  13. We are so happy that the eyedrops are working for you, Honey, and we loved your video! You and Hsin-Yi always have such fun dancing together!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  14. sara, oreo and chewy says:

    Oh, what is life without a bit of spontaneous dancing? Go Honey!

    I’m so glad you had so much good news at the vet. That eye chart is hilarious.

  15. Melanie & Grendel says:

    Thanks for the update, Honey! So glad to hear that you’re doing well!!

  16. Thanks for answering my question. I can see how your dance training and the way you teach it could really help.

    But the good news is that Honey seems to have retained some vision and the medication is working well. I know when they check my vision because of the high incidence of glaucoma in my family and my high-normal eye-pressure, I have to do a field vision test. What it does is check my peripheral vision to see if there is any loss. I wondered if maybe Honey might retain some of her straight ahead vision and it sounds like she has. I hope the medication will keep on working.

    I would think the worse thing you could do was bench Honey. That would be no kind of life for her. After Thunder bloated last summer, we though about retiring him from training/testing. But that would have been no kind of life for him either.

  17. Nicki says:

    I am so glad Honey’s Doctor visits came out with really good news!

    I believe in quality over quantity when it comes to my pets lives. Honey has, from everything I’ve read and watched, a darn good quality of life. I’ve read enough of this blog to know that Hsin-Yi would do nothing that would harm Honey or Muesli and I’ve noticed she often thinks to ask more questions about her pets health and activities than the average pet owner. She goes out of her way to ensure the physical and mental health of her pets. I would not return post after post if I thought Honey was being mistreated.

    Another thing to consider, it is easy to type something in a comments section and walk away not considering how much it could hurt the person’s feelings. I have seen it on some of the other blogs I read… I understand how people read these posts and start to believe they know Honey & Hsin-Yi. I assure you that the parts that get shared are probably only 1/4 of Honey’s life if that and just because we read about her several times a week doesn’t mean that there are many things we just don’t know.

    (Hsin-Yi, if you feel I have stepped over a line here please delete this comment or just the parts that you feel need it.)

    • bighoneydog says:

      Oh my goodness, Nicki – I don’t think you’ve stepped over the line at all. Gosh, I hope everyone doesn’t think I’m some kind of dragon now, ready to take offence at every comment! ;-) I don’t usually respond to comments that bother me – I accept that we all have the right to different opinions and I don’t like censorship so I tend to leave people’s comments on the blog, even if I may not agree with what they say – but this time, I just felt that I had to respond to that one because it seemed so unfair.

      And it’s really sweet of you to post a comment in my defence – I am really touched! :P

      Hsin-Yi

  18. phyllis says:

    I am sorry you took offense to my comment. It was not intentional to hurt your feelings. I was simply concerned about the stress on your wonderful dog if her sight was failing and her wanting to please you by dancing would be stressful if she could not see clearly. All stress is harder to endure in old age, both people and animals.

    • bighoneydog says:

      Hi Phyllis – thank you for your comment. I appreciate it. And I’m sorry if I misunderstood you – I appreciate your concern for Honey. I hope you can trust that I know best what is stressful for her and would not push her beyond her capabilities. If you could meet her now, you really would not believe that she is vision impaired on one side – she really does not act differently than before and does not hesitate to do anything or behave in any way that you would feel that she is struggling. But most importantly, the vets have advised very strongly against treating her any differently and have been adamant that she should continue to live her life as before (with common sense about certain things, of course). Thanks again for your concern.

      Best wishes,
      Hsin-Yi

  19. Great news about your eyes Honey! Glad to hear the drops are working for you!

    That last comment. OI. If anything I would be sad to see Honey not doing her dancing and tricks. She’s always seemed to enjoy what she’s doing, and you, Hsin-Yi, are always thinking about her best interest, not your own. That’s something that’s always been obvious through your blog.
    Don’t let comments like that get you down. Honey and Muesli are in the best of hands with you and Paul.

  20. Nightshade says:

    Yay for Honey!!! Really great to hear that the values in both her eyes are good and that she still can see with her “bad” eye! And of course also that her heart sounded good! She’s one tough doggie!

    by the way: having one of the more robust typed Great Danes, I can tell you that from what I’m seeing of Honey on pictures and in video’s, she’s looking fine and absolutely not overweight. But I know what you mean with her appearing “fatter” next to the skinny built Danes. A friend of mine has two fawn Dane girls and they’re also the smaller, lighter built type. Next to them, Killian looks like a bulldozer! heehee
    But the vet says that he’s just looking great and he’s not overweight at all. It’s all muscles and he has a different type of body than the other Danes. You can also see it when you look at their heads: Killian has a big, broad and heavy built head with big lips, while my friend’s two Danes have smaller, more pointed heads and they don’t have those big lips. They drool less of course because of that, but I prefer the looks of the heavier built Danes, so I’m very happy with the way Killian has turned out. :)

    • bighoneydog says:

      Oh Karolien – I so agree with you! I too prefer the more solid type of Dane – especially as you said, they have a much more accentuated Dane head, with more prominent profile and the big jowls – which is a pain with the drool, I agree – but I think looks much more majestic! ;-) I guess the slobber is the price we pay!

      Hsin-Yi

  21. Nightshade says:

    Woops, I just noticed that the old blog-address sneaked in when you click my name in my previous reply. That blog isn’t kept up to date anymore, it should be this one:
    http://n1ghtshadesworld.wordpress.com/

    Greets,
    Karolien
    & slobbery kiss, Killian!

  22. Hi there!, we’re so glad to hear the good news. Honey, you’re the poster child for a healthy dane in my book. I don’t go in much for agility or clicker training, but my danes love nothing more than to play, which comes to the same thing: interacting with them and getting them to do tricks for me. They even get up in the night sometimes to beg me to play – I occasionally get woken up by two joyful danes sitting on the bed and one of them drops the rope toy on my head. We’ve developed all sorts of games to play together, and they would be nothing but sad couch potatoes without that fun. Hsin Yi, if only every pet could have parents/owners as caring as you and Paul, the world would be a better place.
    Love and hugs!
    Kira, Jasmine, Kim & Luc

    • Dorothy S in Michigan says:

      I complain when my cat walks laps around me in bed. I can only imagine waking up with 2 Danes!

      Bless your heart and your Danes!

      Here is to playing all day and sleeping all might.

  23. Dorothy S in Michigan says:

    Hsin-Yi, I can relate to dmdeedee’s comments.

    I think we insert our own feelings into what we read and what we say. For example, I don’t see very well when I’m not wearing glasses, and I tend to think something is missing when I see other people not wearing them. I think, “how do they do that”?

    My mother ALWAYS said to me, “Aren’t you tired dear?” (It was so sad! She had MANY health problems! I started to learn to cook for the family with her lying on the sofa and me running back and forth from the kitchen saying “What do I do now?”

    I can just imagine my mom saying, “Now let that sweet dog rest because resting is what she herself wanted to do.”

    Now I am older and unfortunately have my own health problems. Now I want to rest, and I do! I think Sundays were invented for church services AND naps! (Yes I know Saturday is the 7th day.)

    Even though I would rather be doing nothing I persuade my self to work. Doing so keeps me mentally alert, keeps me involved with my colleagues (and earns money). I also keep myself busy because I know if I simply sit down like I sometimes wish I could I will get worse not better. I even try new things simply because it’s good for me.

    You are right about Honey and how it is SO much better for her to be busy withing her ability level. dmdeedee simply may be seeing the world through her own experience.

    Of course, when an animal is in the process of dying, then they can’t “do things”, but Honey is far from that!

    I’m glad to see Honey dancing with you. It warms my heart.

    Forgive the typos! Thank you for blog!

  24. Rottrover says:

    Love the eye chart and hope you can incorporate it into the children’s book!

  25. Carmel says:

    Another great blog about Honey and Hsin Yi’s adventures!

    I can also appreciate that all comments left here are usually in concern for Honey’s well being and people don’t mean any personal offence to Hsin-Yi. That said, I have gotten to know Hsin-Yi and Honey during their time here in Sydney and I just wanted to take the time to PERSONALLY vouch that everything Hsin-Yi says is true – Honey is one of the happiest dogs I know and the relationship she and Hsin-Yi have is fantastic, co-operative and normal!

    I can also vouch that Honey would never do anything that she didn’t want to do and isn’t afraid to let you know about it (read her post about walking back to the car yet?!) so as she ages (gracefully of course!) life continues as “normal” which for Honey – is a life full of variety but also rest (she gets A LOT of sleep!), love and care from Hsin-Yi, Paul and her many friends.

    I don’t often leave replies on Honey’s blog, but I just wanted people to know that Honey is one of the best-cared for dogs I have ever met and that’s reflected in not only her gorgeous (yet sometmes fiesty!) temeperament, but also her beautiful healthy coat and physique – recent eye sickies aside (which is to be expected given her age). Only a few months ago, we were walking her and Honey found a HUGE stick and started leaping about with it then sticking her head down and her bum up in the air wagging her tail like a puppy.

    So, rest assured, there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet!

  26. That is such great news!!!! I look forward to more degrading videos of your animals :)

  27. Anne says:

    Hi Honey,

    It’s great to know you still retained a good quality of vision, with no problem looking for big juicy meaty bone or nasty angry pussy cat!!!

    Take care of yourself!! Please send my huggies to you human being, Hsin-Yi for taking suck a good care on you!! Good Job, Hsin-Yi!

  28. Badger the Deerhound says:

    We cannot thank you enough for posting the rebuttal to that absolute rubbish about older dogs not “dancing.” The WCFO has a competition category called “Sassy Senior” for dogs who are over 9 years old (and also for humans over 65 but that’s another story) and you would not believe how much joy and fun and touching bonding one sees in the dogs competing in that class! It not only makes them happy, it keeps them limber and exercised — and, thus, young! I feel sorry for dogs who are forced to “retire” from their favorite low-impact sports without a medical reason. And blindness in one eye isn’t one of them! A Border Collie who has only had one eye since her youth (after an accident) is competing in the absolute highest class of Freestyle here in WCFO trials — Perfect Dance PArtner — and she regularly wins “high score” awards, and is happy happy happy. And if you’re like Hsin-yi and prefer not to get involved in the sometimes overly competitive world of Freestyle (I’ve never seen that here in the states, but can see how it could happen), it’s still wonderful to entertain in the community, or just have a good time “cutting a rug” around the house. Poo on anyone who would rain on your parade, Honey!

    • bighoneydog says:

      Hi Badger – thanks for your comment! And how inspiring to learn about that “Sassy Seniors” class! ;-) Oh – and Hsin-Yi wanted to say that we didn’t want to give the wrong impression – the Canine Freestyle club here in Australia is very nice and friendly and supportive – and obviously isn’t “too competitive” for all the other members! ;-) It might just be Hsin-Yi herself that she finds it too competitive for HER – maybe it’s because we’ve come from living in NZ and used to the more laid-back Kiwi attitude to things – Australians tend to be much more competitive in general and take competitions more seriously! ;-) Actually, Hsin-Yi says she’s pretty competitive herself – you should see her when she loses at chess or any other board game! – but she’s not competitive at all when it comes to her dog!! :P

  29. What a great response to what that jerk said about Honey! You explain yourself so well and get your meaning across in text waaay better than I can. Well done! :D

    I’m glad Honey is doing so well. The stuff you said about teaching her to do things off of verbal cues only makes so much sense!! I need to work on that more because Jackal is definitely very dependent on body language and cues. When he was a puppy he didn’t listen at all to verbal cues. He does much better now, but I’ve never fully weaned him off of the visual cues. Might be interesting to try. :)

    P.S. That video is soooo cute!! I love Honey!

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