Watching a Blind Dog Walk

This afternoon while stretching my legs with a short jaunt around the neighbourhood I saw a woman walking her dog. Given the number of canines that live in the area, this is not an uncommon sight, but something was different about this particular animal. It was a bull terrier that looked to be around the same age as Nozomi1 that seemed to be navigating solely by its nose. The animal was going left and right in an erratic fashion and the person holding the leash seemed to be used to this behaviour and gave it space. As I got closer, I noticed that the dog's eyes were crossed and generally unmoving. It didn't even seem to notice me approach from the front.

One of the things I try to do when out and about is to meet the dogs in the neighbourhood. This is generally the easiest way for me to meet the people who are out with them, which is generally the only human interaction I get with people outside my home on a regular basis. As I approached the cross-eyed dog and the woman walking him, I held out my hand to be sniffed and asked if I could say hello. それをお勧めしません。 この犬は盲目です2, came the reply. This dog is blind.

Until today I'd never heard the term mōmoku — blind — used in conversation. I had to confirm my understanding, apologise for intruding, then carry on without petting the dog. However, as I watched the pair continue towards the direction I came, I couldn't help but watch as the animal tried its best to navigate the world without the use of its eyes. Every couple of meters it would walk into a bush, or trip over a curb, or come to a complete stop with its nose in the air. Despite the challenges and obstacles it faced while embarking on a walk around the neighbourhood, it didn't seem particularly frustrated. Instead it appeared to be intently focused on tracing a scent to its source.

It is absolutely fascinating how adaptable life can be, especially when it doesn't have any say in the matter.

  1. Nozomi will be ten years old this May. Ten! Where does the time go?

  2. Sore o osusume shimasen. Kono inu wa mōmoku desu. ⇢ I wouldn't recommend it. This dog is blind.