CHESTER (Now Stevie) is about 18mths old, and a normal, lively pup with one difference. He is BLIND in one eye and can probably see no more than shadows from the bottom of his good eye. He has undergone surgery to remove his bad eye to avoid any problems in the future. He sailed through this surgery in his usual happy go lucky way. Whilst in foster in Ireland, he learned to negotiate a very tricky route which included 3 steps to take himself out to the garden and was calm and gentle around a very young child. This is one AMAZING boy.
Andy cared for him for a few hours when he first arrived in the UK (at 2am) before he went to his proper foster home and totally fell in love with him. He said: He is full of energy, fun and love. I am not sure of what the problem is with his eyes but his blindness makes him clumsy as you can imagine. However I am sure once settled into a steady home, he will negotiate his way round with little trouble. He is a big fusspot and great fun. He also answers to Stevie (as in Wonder)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He was then fostered by Pauline and had a whale of a time playing with Gizmo and the other dogs. He is such a happy chappie. Chester barks when he needs to go out and quickly sussed out the layout of the house, including negotiating several steps much to our amazement. He adores people and dogs alike and makes up for his lack of sight with the most wonderful of natures. He decided that his name is definitely STEVIE WONDERFUL.
CHESTER, after whom he was named, has definitely been looking out for him from above and STEVIE, as he now is, has found the most WONDERFUL forever home in the Midlands with Alison, Tom & golden retriever brother Sam. ALISON SAYS Stevie is doing well. He and Sam are starting to have a play together (quite rough as you predicted) and they are both worn out!!!
STEVIE is definitely at home
A big thankyou must go to DOGS TODAY magazine for featuring Irish Retriever Rescue because that is where Alison found out about us.
UPDATE 13.03.07 Stevie is such a love that his puppyish behaviour is really not a problem and it is nice that he feels he can play and be a pup as he has missed out on all this. He is definitly settling and getting into a routine too which is amazing after such a short space of time. He really is a wonder dog!!
FURTHER UPDATE 16.03.07
So all in all - doing amazingly well. I have started clicker training and am working on the sit - he is getting there gradually and I am happy to take it slowly.
Today Stevie had a lovely roll in the snow on his morning walk and seemed to have a great time. He is getting more adventurous in the garden and will have an explore, but still likes to keep near to me. When I am working in my office upstairs he tends to lie in the hall and sleep.
Stevie loves being cuddled and groomed (I am brushing him daily at the moment) and likes nothing better than to sit on your lap and be fussed. He also talks to us by making little noises when he is being stroked. He is also a very mischevious puppy and runs off with my scarves and slippers and puts his nose into everything he can.
I am doing short sessions of training every day - it is slow progress, but he seems to respond well to verbal cues rather than just clicker although I am persevering with it (I am no expert but I am just feeling my way). He knows leave and busy and go to bed and is starting to learn sit. I am not in any rush as I know it will all take time and the amount he is learning already is amazing. I also say noise before the vaccuum/washing machine/extractor etc go on so that he is cued for the fact there will be loud noise, which seems to help reassure him.
He is an amazing dog and I have been so impressed with him this week - it has been hard work but the way he has settled in has made it more than worthwhile. Everyone who meets him thinks he is wonderful and I have to agree.
Our Amazing Stevie
STEVIE sent off his first card and update. We hope he raises lots of money to help other unwanted dogs.
Dogs Today are going to print my letter (and hopefully a pic of Stevie).
His trainer wants us to work towards entering him in for a local fun agility competition next year. It would be weaves, tunnel and jumps (all of which he has attempted and been fine with as long as there is liver at the end). We both think it would be quite an achievement for him to take part and, again, be a bit of good publicity for disabled dogs in general. I also would like to put him forward as a PAT dog when he is a bit older as I think he would be perfect (and he would love the fuss).
THE LATEST ON STEVIE
STEVIE................THE AMAZING AGILITY DOG
STEVIE IS FAMOUS AGAIN
Having already been featured in Dogs Today magazine some time ago, he then had a wonderful article about him in the July edition of Your Dog magazine. Well done to Stevie and Alison for highlighting the capabilities of disabled and rescue dogs. All being well, you will see Stevie in action at the 2008 Reunion.
We are also delighted to find out that Sam and Stevie's wonderful trainer, Ann-Marie, has qualified as reserve for the GB team at the world agility championships. Many congratulations. Only the very best for our Stevie.
UPDATE FEB 2011
Alison says. "Stevie still continues to amaze us with his sweet nature, his zest for life and willingness to try new things.
He still loves his agility, which is great exercise for him as it helps with the mobility problems he has with his legs caused by him being locked up for so long as a pup. We forget that he is blind as he does everything his golden brother, Sam, does and has a complete lack of fear. His fits are thankfully under control with daily medication, but his epilepsy can sometimes cause him to have accidents in the house and he can get a bit confused at times. He also has to have regular blood tests to check the medication isn’t affecting his liver. Luckily, he loves going to the vets as they always give him a biscuit!
We do have to keep a close eye on him at all times though as his escapades have included escaping from our cottage when we were on holiday and going for a little wander down the main road and, more recently, trying to eat three months’ supply of his epilepsy medication (and the bottle!) in one go. Luckily, no harm was done but his medicine has been added to the list of things we have to keep away from Stevie. This list includes shoes, boots, scarves, bags, tissues, jumpers, pens, clothes pegs, toilet rolls, all items of food (including the fruit bowl), Christmas cards, plants, fresh soil……
He is a wonderful dog who charms everyone he meets and we absolutely love him to bits."
Alison said: "Stevie has had a recurring infection in his empty eye socket and has been wearing a lampshade collar for a couple of weeks now to stop him scratching at it and causing more problems! We're all covered in bruises too as a blind dog in a lampshade is not the best combination and he just careers around the place bashing into everything. He is on painkillers so he is not in any pain, but I do feel sorry for him as he is obviously finding it all a bit confusing... He is very happy going backwards and forwards to the vets though as they always give him a biscuit!
On 31 May, the vet operated and found some necrotic tissue within the eye socket (it was pigmented and had hair growing out of it - his eyes are such a strange structure!!) which has been removed - unfortunately he had to have two operations as there was a problem with bleeding after the first and they had to go back in and deal with some blood vessels. He has a part-shaved head, six stitches and is very confused - poor thing. The good news is there is no evidence it has gone into the bone.
In mid June, Stevie had his stitches out and the lampshade collar came off. He is back to his old happy self again - although he is having to be a bit careful as the whiskers and hairs around his eye socket were shaved off so it is harder for him to judge where things are on that side. He is coping well though as usual.
His eye has healed really well but his mobility has suffered, probably due to the weeks he spent not doing much walking while he was ill and then recovering from the op. He is going on anti-inflammatories to see if that helps and so I can start building up his walks again - at the moment he won't do more than about 5 mins without stopping and sitting down and refusing to move. I am hoping that the anti-inflammatories combined with regular very short walks will do the trick...he needs to be able to walk to the beach every day when we go to Devon in a month's time and he is a bit too big and heavy to carry!!!
UPDATE 2 JULY
Excellent news - Stevie has got his mojo back!! A course of anti-inflammatories, lots of very short walks and our lovely agility trainer/friend Anne-Marie allowing me to use her private field every day to give Stevie his confidence and enjoyment of movement back has helped Stevie tremendously. In fact he went on his normal walk for the first time yesterday and managed it without having to stop for a rest once.
Once again, Stevie has shown us what a brave little trooper he is in facing and overcoming yet another challenge to his health. We are all very proud of this very special boy.