Just spent some delightful time with the litter of foster puppies I will say good-bye to soon. As I curled up on the floor in the midst of them…..pummeled with tiny paws and noses and razor sharp teeth nipping me, I found myself smiling and crying at the same time. These puppies are special. Well, all babies like these are special in some way to me. Needy. Innocent. Wanting. Joyful. Precious. And ornery of course. These are no different in those ways. And as much fun as it is for me…especially pulling each one individually into my arms for some one-on-one snuggle time, I couldn’t help myself but feel melancholy about these little ones.
In a day or two, they’ll be with another foster. And soon enough I’m hopeful they’ll each find a forever home of their own. While the rescue will keep me posted on their progress and their destinies, I will worry forever about each and every one of them in a way different than any of the others.
You see, they cannot see or hear. All were born deaf and blind. A genetic misfortune of sorts. They’re Dachshund something else mixes and certain Dachshund colors have a genetic birth defect called double dapple that can result in blindness, deafness or both. Sometimes this overlapping dapple gene can even cause missing eyes and/or ears.
These babies have no eyes at all.
When I saw them for the first time, I couldn’t help myself but think how sad. As I’ve shared their story with others, everyone reacts with the very same response. How sad. I tell myself and them that they don’t know anything else. They don’t know what they aren’t seeing or hearing. They only know what they feel, smell and taste. Can’t miss what you’ve never had, right?
And surely their little noses are constantly pointed upward and searching. They are quick to find what their noses alert them to. With the benefit of being able to sneak up on them, clean up their messes without waking them….don’t be misled. These puppies are no less dexterous or adventurous than any other “normal” puppy. My shoes strings are just as prone to being victim of their untying in a seconds. Their mouths will find the softest places to nip…my nose is a ready target but my own yelps of pain go unnoticed. How they can find my earlobes in 3 seconds flat baffles me. Maybe I have smelly ears.
Despite my knowing that they can’t hear a word I say, I talk to them. Coo at them. Reprimand them with a useless “no” when they are naughty. Then I have to laugh at myself, which they don’t hear either.
What makes me smile so much when I’m with them is that they truly do not know that they are missing anything and their puppy attitudes are not diminished by a lack of sight or hearing in any way at all. The fact that their tails never cease to wag furiously when I settle among them or pull them into my arms, reassures me that they feel my joy.
How often I’ve explained to people about the development of puppies and how initially at birth and for at least 10 days they see nothing. And its days later that their hearing is revealed to them. All puppies are deaf and blind at birth and for the first week or two and I can’t recall ever feeling sorry for new born puppies as a result. I know well that dogs primarily communicate by smelling, seeing and lastly hearing. And that they have a universal sense which humans do not have, where they can feel the energy (emotions) of the other beings around them.
Realizing all that should reassure me and I suppose deep down it does. The reassurance of my relationship with the rescue that has chosen to take them helps immensely too! I know that they are lucky to be going where they are. Certain that with them, they will provide the best chance EVER to find homes where they will receive the best care possible! Yet I can’t help but feel sorry that the dark and silence is all they will ever know.
But I pray that love is all they will ever know too!
A special thank you to Lynn Leach and 2nd Chance 4 Life for taking them into your care!