Archie, my best friend, went blind. But still happy. And I’m still happy with him. It is my responsibility to remain happy. And that’s what my heart sends me.
Historically, there have been guided dogs that become the eyes of those people who have lost their vision. Well: I am the guide of my dog.
The Jack Russell terrier race always caught my attention. They had already passed through my house Doberman, German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, French Poddle, two Criollitos, and a Schnauzer. Doing this count, and at 44 years old, I have always lived with dogs. They have always been in my house and in my life. And yes, they have all been my best friends (or friends).
Of all of them could highlight a thousand virtues and a handful of defects, especially genetic. And here I go back to Jack Russell. Tremendous race, gigantic; not because of its size, clearly, but because of its intelligence, its strength, its perseverance, its determination, and dedication.
In 2008 came the great opportunity to have one of these dogs in the family. The chosen name: Archie. It came to my hands (and it fit in my hands) being a puppy for two months. Agile, playful, flew from the floor to the bed and arrived in seconds to the room jumping from chair to chair. The ball was his favorite prey and he reached it almost at the same speed at which we threw it.
Of course, all that energy did not fit in the apartment. I had to take him out to the park. But the park also stayed small. With my wife, we were advised to know how we could channel all that voltage of Archie and we got a name: the Canine Training Center of the Red Cross, for Salitre. What good advice. There, Archie learned to do a couple of tricks, to be obedient.
I have read and seen, in social networks, how a good training strengthens the link between man and dog (in this case, between César and Archie) the relationship was strengthened. Without a doubt, we were (and are) best friends.
Archie had a couple of passions in his head, apart from his family, obviously: his toys and the TV. He loved watching Animal Planet and barked at how many things with four-legged hairs ran across the screen. But about three years ago we realized something: I no longer watched television with the same intensity and that ball, which did not escape before, now followed him straight. He passed by and lost the location. Then I found her at the point of smell, but it was obvious that I was not seeing the same thing anymore. I used to say: the ‘puppy hunter’ (hunter) because he did not miss a single one. Well, it was until three years ago.
A New Life
With my wife, we took him to the ophthalmologist, a great professional named Ladino, who told us what we suspected but did not want to hear: “he is going blind”. I was 7 years old and life was ahead.
“It can not be,” I said. My pup puppy (as I say now) went blind. How will you keep doing your things? Are you going to crash against everything? What is done now? Is there a surgery option?
A thousand more questions and reflections passed through my head at that moment.
And the next thing is that I say that Dr. Ladino is a great professional: he made us understand that it was not the end of the world, nor for Archie, nor for us. They, the dogs, he explained to us, adapt faster; his life clock is not as long as ours and that is why they play every day as if it were the last and live with that intensity and unconditional devotion that overwhelms us so much.
And if they put this in doubt, notice how they receive them at home when they arrive from work. Their lives go by ours.
They are easy reflections for us. After all, it is us who are not going blind. He is our best friend and it is impossible to know what he thinks. But we can know what he feels and how he lives, and we also know how we would like to be treated if we were going through that situation.
Our eyes are his. His partner Molly, another Jack Russell, for three years, accompanies him and is his accomplice of games, meals, outings to the park …
On our side, we try to make things easier for him: to give him his vitamins and favorite cookies. We always remove it on a leash and we do not change the furniture in place.
We leave your toys and your bed in the same place as always. A whole map that has already been traced in the brain and in his nose, including a residential complex friendly with pets, with a park included.
Whatever it is for him, he is my best friend. And for the friends, one does what it is. Less a surgery, for that there is no cure.
This progressive retinal atrophy – the diagnosis that Dr. Ladino gave us – was a hard blow for a dog like the one I met 10 years ago. The genes threw a coin into the air and this jack Russell dropped the seal. But quiet, Archie, your best friend will do anything to make the rest of your life happier and more comfortable, you no longer have two eyes, you have all the eyes of your family.