Here's the little guy we flew in from Mississippi on Thursday ... blind Creighton, a chocolate Lab puppy only four months old. He's actually a pretty big and lanky boy for his age, but he still has those tiny, sharp baby teeth and is 100% pure puppy. He is as sweet as he looks, too -- he's absolutely adorable.
About two weeks ago, I received an email from a lady named Debbie L. who runs a poodle and small breed rescue group in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Debbie's e-mail had only one line in it. She wrote, "Please can you take this 4 month old puppy?" She was forwarding an email from another lady named Lindsey D. in Vicksburg, and attached were photos of the puppy with a horrendous set of bulging, bloodshot, ulcerated eyes.
The story was simple but sad: A woman said her daughter had bought the AKC-registered puppy for her boyfriend, but didn't know the dog was blind. Daughter and boyfriend broke up, and boyfriend didn't want the puppy. Neither did the daughter. Thus the woman ended up with her daughter's "gift" and didn't want him either. A vet who knew Lindsey had a blind Pug put the woman in touch with her.
Lindsey wasn't involved in rescue but knew Debbie, so she contacted Debbie for help in finding a home for the blind puppy. Hence the email to us.
We took one look at those eyes and thought, oh dear -- this puppy needs medical care in the worst way. I had never seen a dog that young with eyes that looked that bad.
We agreed to take him, and began working with Lindsey on the logistics to get him to Montana. First, we arranged to get the puppy to a vet clinic in Vicksburg and boarded him there to keep him safe until we could fly him out. We sent Lindsey the money for a crate, and paid for Creighton's vet exam and other care at the clinic. I made the flight arrangements with Northwest Airlines to fly him from Jackson, Mississippi to Minneapolis on Wednesday, where he would overnight at a boarding kennel, and then fly on to Great Falls on Thursday. So on Wednesday, Lindsey left work early to pick up Creighton at the clinic and drive him to the airport in Jackson to start his journey to Montana.
Here's a photo I took of Creighton in his crate outside the Great Falls airport:
This is what the sign on the crate said:
At first I couldn't get Creighton out of the crate, so I finally reached in, picked him up and pulled him out. Once Creighton realized he was outside, he suddenly became very excited and bouncy .. and then immediately peed all over my shoes. This was the first of many submissive urinations we've seen over the past few days, in fact. Even though he's excited to be petted and get attention, the moment he realizes we're approaching him, he starts piddling. Once we start petting him, he stops ... but something about being approached triggers it.
Yet he's not at all a fearful, cringing puppy. Quite the opposite. He's happy and cheerful and jumps up and down to greet us, sometimes spinning in a complete 360-degree circle! Being a puppy, he veers from too-much energy to sound-asleep in five minutes. Creighton is sleeping on a bed here in my office as I write this, lying next to Ellie May.
He's clearly a puppy that has had no training or manners taught by either people or other dogs, so his elders in the house are teaching him boundaries and what's acceptable play. The Dachshunds, of course, are teaching him to "@#%&! watch where you put your big feet, you lug!" Even Ellie May told him to mind his manners this afternoon, sounding like a gentle but firm headmistress with a wayward student.
And oh, do those eyes hurt. When he walks into something, he yikes. They definitely look like multiple things have gone wrong, but all I can tell is they're painful. He has untreated old ulcers on each cornea, but they can't explain his blindness by themselves. His eyes bulge like he has glaucoma, but when I took his eye pressures on Friday, I got extremely low readings -- either the Tono-Pen is off, my technique is off, or there is something very weird going on inside those eyes. I'm taking him to see our vet, Brenda Culver, this week.
But bless his little heart, he is such a sweet, happy boy. Creighton wanders around the house with his big eyes, slapping his paws on the floor with that exaggerated gait we often see in young, blind animals. He thrives on all the attention he's getting and on all the activity in the house. Here's a close-up of this handsome youngster ... click on this photo to get a larger image and you'll see more of the damage to his eyes:
And here's another view that will give you a better idea of how his eyes bulge out:
The cost of Creighton's trip, including the overnight boarding fee, was $391.63. The bill for his stay at the vet clinic in Vicksburg was $232.50. And he is worth every penny. Thanks to Lindsey and Debbie in Mississippi for working so hard to save this little guy ... and thanks to all of the sanctuary's generous supporters, whose gifts make it possible for us to take in animals like Creighton. We couldn't do this without you.