Okay, so she's not as exotic as a blind Shepherd from Afghanistan, but at least she isn't another blind Beagle from Georgia! No, she's a blind Beagle from Washington state.
This is Carmel from Gig Harbor, and with her are Shirley L. and James C. from Portland, Oregon, wonderful supporters of the ranch who kindly drove Carmel out to us yesterday.
Carmel's owner was going through some difficult times and could no longer afford to provide for her or get her the medical care she needed for her eyes. Carmel's vet talked with a veterinary ophthalmologist in Olympia, Washington, who recommended they contact us about placing Carmel at the sanctuary. So after talking with the owner and the vet, we agreed to take Carmel.
Typically we don't take dogs and cats from private individuals, because we try to reserve our very limited space for when shelters and rescue groups call us about a disabled animal who has no other options. Usually that's the last call they're going to make for the animal. We have made exceptions, though, in cases where we're convinced the owner has already tried everything possible and where medical care is clearly needed. When we saw the first photos that Carmel's owner emailed us, we winced looking at those solid gray eyes.
Shirley and James picked up Carmel on Monday and kept her at their house for us until they could get to the ranch. After Carmel arrived at their home, Shirley emailed to say, "She is one SWEET girl!!!!"
Just before we took the photo of Shirley and James with Carmel, I used our Tono-Pen to measure the intraocular pressure in Carmel's eyes. I got consistent readings in the upper 80s (defined as millimeters of mercury, or mmHg) in both eyes. Normal eye pressure in a dog is generally in the 15-25 mmHg, so this is incredibly high. In fact, the readings I got were even a bit higher than we had in blind Briggs, and we knew how painful his eyes were. (However, I never quite trust my own IOP readings until our vet in Helena, Dr. Brenda Culver, validates them with her own Tono-Pen!)
Carmel sees Brenda early next week, and meanwhile, she is on pain medication for her eyes. Like all of these incredibly stoic animals, the discomfort she must feel certainly doesn't affect her disposition.
She has settled right into the routine here, making herself at home in our house and exploring the yard. Poor Briggs was so excited (again) to see a new girl arrive at the ranch, but alas -- like all the others before her -- Carmel has kept her distance from the teeter-tottering, overly eager Beagle from Georgia.