Last spring I wrote about the bedtime ritual Butch and Kadi have established. It's still pretty much the same: Kadi sticks with me to make sure I get the right dog biscuits, while Butch races to wait for us in the bedroom doorway.
One thing is a little different this year, and it bothers me a lot: Butch has been bumping into things as he races from the back door, through the den, the dining room and the hall, and finally into the bedroom. I've noticed him bumping into things outside, too.
In the past month he's smacked into things more frequently than at any time since the days after he first lost his eyes. It doesn't seem to upset him; he just backs up, gives his head a little shake, adjusts his direction and moves on. He still runs, too, which makes me believe his accidents aren't diminishing his confidence.
It isn't as if he bumps into things constantly, more like once every two or three days. If I had no eyes, I'd be thrilled to be able to navigate with no more bumps than that. Still, each time it happens, it breaks my heart.
The only thing I can think of to account for the change is pollen. There's a ton of it this year, and my own allergies are giving me fits. Without his eyes, Butch has to rely on his ears and, even more, on his nose. If his nose is as messed up as mine is, he may not be picking up the subtle scents that signal him to put on the brakes or veer to the side of a fence or a wall.
Before his eye surgery, I bought a variety of scented oils and used them to mark specific places in the house. I'd read that this was helpful, and indeed it was. In the beginning, until Butch got used to the various scents, I freshened the oil markings about once a month. After a while, just as I'd read, he was able to pick up minute traces of the scents and I no longer needed to freshen them.
I think it's time to dig out the oils again and splash on a liberal dose of each scent. I hope I can find the "cheat sheet" I made back then. Putting the rose scent where the strawberry belongs would only confuse him more.
(First published at Velvet Sacks on April 4, 2007.)