- Polish Lowland Sheepdogs - pons - pon the dog -







Katie, owned by Richard and Ann Glazeski






by Richard and Ann Glazeski



Living with a PON that has gone blind by the horrific eye disorder PRA, is by no means easy. But at the same time we would not have had it any other way. Do we feel cheated??  No, not really, we’ve got a wonderful PON who has been part of our family; but how about our PON?? I think is some ways yes. No longer can the McDonalds be seen to know that frozen yogurt is coming, the rides in the car and walks in the school yard are nowhere near as much fun for her, but life just keeps on going for her. There are 2 of our other PONs that will always keep an eye out to make sure all is well. Our oldest male will not come in until Katie finds her way to the door and goes in the house. The most unusual thing to watch is the cats; they will meet her at the door when she comes in and rub against her as if to say we’re here. The one cat will kind of herd Katie around by rubbing on her and getting in her way to make sure that Katie goes around a chair that might not be in the right place and so on.


We would like to add a few other ideas to last months report on blind Pons which we feel will help to keep the dog safe.  If there are trees in your yard it would a good idea to put a fence around them to make sure that your PON doesn't get hurt should they run into them. We also found that if you have stairs that don’t have hand rails you will need to block the sides of the stairs so your PON doesn’t fall of the edge. If there is a swimming pool in the back yard that too will need to blocked off for the safety the pup. We’ve personally experienced all of the above situations and have had some close calls.




‘Many newly blind dogs develop mental issues as they adjust to their
new state, so behaviors like urinating, scenting, marking, panic
attacks, and likewise are also closely related to blindness.’

(from the net)



Shirley had sent the above statement and asked us if we had experienced any of comments. I must say that in no we have never experience any of them. We feel that in a dog’s mind going blind is just a normal progression of life and they don’t know or aren’t able to rationalize any thing different, like the dog who looses a leg they adapt and continue on with life. Life becomes more difficult for them as anyone would well imagine, but unlike the human who knows the difference they just adapt by using their other senses to compensate for the loss of sight.


We did things a little more differently than I am sure anyone else has done, and having cared for a blind human family member sure helped prepare us for this. The main thing is that our Katie is a very good dog, excellent temperament and never has there been any trouble with growling, biting, wandering off, not listening or anything else. We have always spoken to all of our dogs as if they were part of the human family. When our dog starting loosing her sight we put things out of harms way and starting playing the all mighty ball time play a little different. We started hitting short balls and we always played in the same place. We taught our dog to walk out slowly and to wait for the ball. Also as a pup we played a game of rolling the ball, which has come in handy now that we are totally blind, no longer can we hit the ball to her, we now have to roll it directly to her. Now that our Katie is totally blind we play on a concrete pad outside the back door, she knows the limits of the pad and doesn’t venture off of it during play time except for the occasional potty break. She is remarkable in knowing her limits whether it be a change in the surface, grass to concrete or vice versa,  or the slope she now knows just how far she can go and when she hits one of the sensory limits she has established an abrupt change in direction takes place and she goes no further. She even counts the steps going up or down.


I will have to say that the only bad habit that has come out of this is something that we have done ourselves. When we are eating something and it happens to a favorite food of hers, we will almost always toss her a piece. Now when a favorite food is smelled in the air we get the bark, the bark that says pay attention to me now!! Not being able to see has made her a lot more vocal.


I really feel that Katie is now totally blind due to the fact that there was a time that the vet diagnosed Katie with having bladder cancer. After they removed a good portion of her bladder we had to give her a cancer medicine, some sort of doggie chemo. To this day I feel that the medicine brought on total blindness sooner. The worse part about the medicine was that it was supposedly to be the only way we could prevent the recurrence and spread of the cancer. Which turned out to be false or just dumb luck on our part as we stopped the medicine due to the side-effects and Katie is still cancer free 2 years later.  We can be ever grateful that the cancer medicine didn’t do any more harm than it did.


Editor: If you are interested in more information on PRA, please visit the following sites:  

CVM - Canine Blindness

Sadly, canine blindness isn't uncommon. One of its causes, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), affects nearly every breed, says Dr. Gustavo Aguirre, ...


Retinal Disorders in Border Collies

In all canine breeds PRA has certain common features. .... If X-linked, then it is likely to represent either a totally new canine PRA locus (there are at ...
www.sheepdog.com/genetics/eyes.html -

HealthGene - Canine Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Canine Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) refers to a broad group of inherited, and sometimes acquired, retinal conditions which will eventually result in ...
www.healthgene.com/canine/C104.asp - 13k


Annual CERF testing on breeding stock will help eliminate PRA. Ask your breeder about the last time testing has been undertaken on parents of available puppies. Informed owners can help prevent genetic conditions.




Katie with Rosie the cat and Katie having fun in the field