In June 2015, Beryl and Lourens Dames saw a picture of an eight-week-old blind Rottweiler puppy on the Facebook page ‘Friend of the Rottweiler Rescue & Re-home South Africa’. As the couple love the breed, their hearts melted and they couldn’t bear the thought of this puppy having a smaller chance of finding a home because of his blindness. The adoption process was started and soon Max joined the Dames family.
According to Beryl, it is unclear what caused Max’s blindness. “From what we can ascertain, he was not born blind and something caused his condition, but we will probably never know the truth.” In September 2015, Max was taken to the Johannesburg Animal Eye Hospital for evaluation. Unfortunately, the news was not good, as Max will never be able to see again. At the time of Animaltalk’s visit, Max was still able to see the colour blue, with his eyesight in the process of deteriorating until he would be fully blind. Nothing can be done for him, as the veins that supply blood to his cornea are not functional anymore.
Blind and bouncy!
None of this has stopped Max from growing up happy and healthy, though … with the help of his caring humans, of course. Beryl says that they decided from the start to treat him like a normal dog, not a dog with a disability. “First and foremost, we realised that we had to establish trust with him. We were going to have to be his eyes, and he would have to trust us with his safety,” says Beryl. And this he sure does! The couple immediately started training him, and he can now follow numerous commands to help him navigate his way. These include ‘step up’, ‘step down’, ‘careful’ and ‘slowly’. Max also demonstrated to Animaltalk that he can play fetch quite successfully with his favourite rope toy. “Max learns very fast. He is even fully housetrained!” Beryl adds proudly. “It could be because he has fewer distractions due to his lack of eyesight.”
The Dames family describes Max as an absolute delight, great with children, and protective of his humans. Max, just like all Rottweilers, needs a lot of love and has to be part of the family, they emphasise.
- The full story of Max appears in the January edition of Animaltalk.