When Kim first got Jake, a Golden Retriever puppy, he was full of energy; always running around and playing with his big brother, Wrigley. Jake and Wrigley played together as any siblings would, chasing each other around. Jake may have been tiny, but he was mighty because of his overwhelming amount of energy. He often would tug at Wrigley’s tail while they were playing which caused Wrigley to lose a lot of the fur on his tail.
Jake soon lost this energy. When he was about four months old, Jake started experiencing severe seizures. After multiple trips to the vet, they finally found a combination of medications that helped control Jake’s seizures. Although this was good for Jake, the vet warned his family that Jake’s seizures could be a sign of serious brain issues since they were starting so early in his life. Jake’s family had to prepare themselves for the worst as they did not know how much longer they had with Jake. They try to remain positive by being grateful for every day they have with him and cherishing every moment with him.
After Jake turned two years old, another problem surfaced. His family noticed that his eyes were no longer producing tears. They took him to their vet’s eye specialist who tried every medication that was available, along with multiple surgeries. Nothing was working and Jake’s eyes were slowly deteriorating.
Jake started developing painful corneal ulcers and there was a risk that they would rupture. Jake’s family was faced with an extremely painful and difficult decision. They needed to choose one of two options. They could either have Jake’s eyes removed or they would have to put him to sleep.
Jake’s family struggled with this decision. Kim, Jake’s human mommy, said how both options seemed cruel, especially since Jake had been through so much in the past and they did not want to put him through more hardships.
Over the next few days, many people who owned blind dogs reached out to Jake’s family and told them about their experiences. They told Jake’s family how resilient their dogs were after losing their sight and that even though it was hard in the beginning, they were able to persevere and go back to their normal, healthy and happy lives.
In addition to the pet owners consulting Jake’s family, their vet also gave them advice. Their vet told them that to a dog, sight is the third most important sense; both smell and hearing are more important to dogs. This helped Jake’s family realize that Jake would be okay without sight and it may not be as hard as it seemed for him to live with blindness.
With all of this information in mind, Jake’s family made the decision to have Jake’s eyes removed in November 2017. After his surgery, the vet came back to Jake’s family with great news! Immediately after Jake woke up from her surgery he began wagging his tail. This meant his months of pain were finally over. Jake was so happy and wanted to let everyone know he was feeling better.
Jake becoming blind meant that he and his family needed some time to adjust, which was a little difficult but Jake did not let it discourage him. Kim said that Jake did great during this period, “He constantly surprised us with the ease in which he seemed to approach his new circumstances.”
Although Jake still bumps into things from time to time, he is able to navigate around the house and outside with ease. In addition, Jake’s playful nature has returned and he is back to his happy self.
“We’re so happy we made the choice we did, and so grateful for the many people who encouraged us to do so,” Kim says. “Jake reminds us everyday that his life still holds great purpose and value in spite of all of his challenges.”
Addie played a big role in helping Jake adjust to his new life. In fact, after his surgery Addie would not leave his side. Addie stuck by Jake and helped him navigate stairs when he got scared. Kim said Addie would meet Jake halfway up the stairs and guide him. Addie also wears a bell on her collar so Jake can easily find her when they go on walks. Addie even helps Jake stay active by always playing with him; Jake loves spending time with Addie and even stuffs his toys in her face when he wants to play.
Jake and Addie have their own Instagram account where they pose for cute photos and work to inspire others, which can be found @thegoldensrule.