Janet Noble and Tyson get along very well in the world even though he's blind. His sense of smell and hearing allow him to navigate his environment just fine, sometimes with a little help from Janet.
Pet of the Week: Tyson is blind but he 'sees' more than most
Janet Noble loves to take Park Department trips and signed up for one last June to visit Pasado's Safe Haven an animal sanctuary located in Sultan, Washington. "I had thought about going on the trip and felt that I didn't want to be upset seeing these animals but then it was a $10 donation so I went. I was not intentionally looking for an animal at the time but I spotted Tyson and he was in a pen walking back and forth." Tyson is a ten year old Boxer but for reasons that are not clear is completely blind. "I don't know what drew me to him."
When he was first found, near Seabeck, he was emaciated and the Humane Society was going to put him down. He became something of a star on the Pasado's Safe Haven website as he was being nursed back to health.
It was a rainy day and the guide let the visitors go into the house Tyson was kept in at the time. "Here we were, all these seniors, crowded into this little house and he couldn't even get in. He was looking for something and I was trying to get his attention. He did have people out there who would take him home and take care of him but I told the guide as I was leaving that I was thinking about adopting him."
She was told that it required paperwork and Noble wound up fostering him. They came out to interview me to see how my premises were for caring for him. I didn't know anything about blind dogs at the time so I did some research. They lent me a book on blind dogs and a "thunder shirt," an item that dogs wear to calm them down.
After a month and a half she adopted him.
Just for the sake of deeper understanding, Noble took Tyson to the vet and inquired about his blindness. "The vet said that either was born blind or something catastrophic happened. He could have gotten in fertilizer but they don't know."
But his blindness does not limit him. He has simply adapted and thrived. "I am amazed at how he maneuvers through my house. I forget he's blind at times. I tell him what room I'm going into so when he is looking for me he knows."
It took him only a short time to figure out her home. "I have steps going into and out of my basement and he was sailing up and down those in about a week. He's kind of spooky."
The pair are closely linked. "He follows me wherever I go and doesn't leave my side," Noble said. "It's like having a kid."
At one point she was sick and, "ended up being in bed for two days. He stayed in bed with me the whole time."
She feeds him Precise Chicken and Rice and for a while was getting too many treats. "I fed him so many treats while I was training him that he gained about seven pounds. So I'm watching his diet now."
This past summer when she was working in the yard, pruning a bush, she looked over and, "crunch, crunch, he was biting the branches off. He was pruning it along with me."
Tyson loves people but doesn't socialize with other dogs, due to his blindness and doesn't care much for cats.
Noble sums Tyson up as, "He's just a wonderful dog. He's attentive and I think he just cares about people. Sometimes I think he's very much human because of the way he acts and knows things."