Age: 8 Years
Height/Weight: 18" / 40 lbs
Fenced yard required: Yes
Location: SE Michigan
Foster Home: Peggy
Likes Car Rides: Tolerates
Good with cats: TBD
Good with kids: Yes
Commands: Good Recall
Beckett was adopted by his foster mom in May, 2016. This is her fifth foster failure. She has no regrets.
Fun Facts About Beckett
1. Can produce an impressive number of vocalizations, including an amazing Chewbacca impersonation. Side note: Chewbacca usually shows up at mealtime.
2. Comes pre-installed with a wide variety of nicknames: Becks, Becketta, Ta, Wreck-It Beckett, and Beckett the Dancing Bear.
3. Vaults off my back porch like a dock-diving champion (because walking down the three steps is for scaredy-pups).
4. Being a blind guy doesn’t slow his roll in the least.
5. Can empty a kibble bowl in record time.
6. Likes nothing better than have someone’s hands on him, petting him and telling him what a good boy he is.
7. Can’t read other dogs’ body language, so he doesn’t always get off on the right paw when meeting new dogs (OK, this one isn’t so fun).
8. Has exceptional house manners – except for the part where he will occasional chew on clothing (that’s not so fun either).
9. Always has a smile on his muzzle.
10. OMG SO FLUFFY!
So this happened.
I wondered how our Tennessee Boy would handle the thirteen inches of pre-Thanksgiving snow, but I needn't have worried. Beckett rolled with it, just like he rolls with everything else. I think he was a little bit disoriented (because the smells were all different), but that didn't stop him from bopping around the backyard with his buddy, Laddy.
Iceballs between his toes? That's another matter. Time to trim those toehawks!
The last couple of months have been all about expanding Beckett's horizons.
He's pretty bold for a blind guy, but that doesn't mean his world can't be bigger. And the biggest adventure so far was a weekend-long volunteer educational seminar hosted by GLBCR at a rustic event center. Beckett handled the change of venue like the champ he is. He was a very good boy in his crate, even overnight, and happily hung out with any of the volunteers each time I handed over the leash. There were steps and hills and ramps and different buildings, and to watch him, you never would have guessed he was blind.
There were also photo opportunities.
Special thanks to Pam for the beauty shots of Beckett and the other foster dogs in attendance.
Remember this dog?
How about this one?
Recognize him now?
He's SO FLUFFY!
Beckett had his appointment with the canine ophthalmologist, and the news was not what we wanted to hear.
In addition to the severe cataracts, Beckett also has Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). PRA is a disorder of the retina (the tissue in the back of the eye that senses light), and is genetic. Beckett’s pupils did not react to the light test. The doctor followed up with a Electroretinogram (ERG), which tests the eye’s response to stimulus. Beckett’s chart shows no response at all. As I suspected from the start, my buddy Becks is completely blind. Even if we did remove the cataracts, Beckett would still be blind, and there is no treatment for PRA.
As sad as I am about this diagnosis (and I’ll admit, it hit me pretty hard), Beckett is not sad. He remains the same “blind, waggy-tail, collar-destroying, cloth-chewing, OMG SO-floofy little guy” we know and love. I am deeply disappointed that we won’t be able to give Becks his sight back, but Becks is still happy happy happy dog, who would be even happier if he realized he was done going to the vet.
He is also difficult to photograph, but this blurry shot is the "Beckettest" picture I've taken. This is what he looks like, most of the time.
Now that his vetting adventures are complete, it’s time for Beckett to find a forever home. What am I looking for?
Beckett would be fine as an only dog, but I think he would also like a playmate. The key is – that playmate would have to be able to tolerate the occasional faux paws. Because Becks is blind, he cannot read canine body language and often makes a terrible first impression -- especially with other male dogs. I suspect it will take more than one meeting with the resident dog to determine whether or not they're going to be BFFs. He gets along fine with my two seniors, one of each gender, though he and Laddy (my big male) do occasionally get tall and stupid with each other. The “tall and stupid” thing is pretty rare, and Laddy always starts it. Here’s what happens – being blind, Beckett will occasionally walk into (or over) a sleeping dog. Ellie mostly ignore him. Laddy, on the other hand, reacts like a dude at the bar who accidently gets bumped by another dude. He doesn’t really want to fight, but he knows he’d lose valuable “man points” if he doesn’t at least puff up and act macho. And when Laddy puffs up, Beckett puffs up. Both boys were neutered late in life, and it’s very evident that neither one of them wants to actually get his teeth out.
Beckett’s health issues are easily manageable. PRA is painless, and other than an eye exam during his annual vet visit, requires no special treatment. He also has a partially dislocated hip, probably from an old injury that was never treated. It doesn’t bother him, and after consulting with our vet, GLBCR opted not to have it surgically treated, as the net gain would be minimal at best. Beckett has been through enough – now it’s time for him to learn that car rides can wind up somewhere other than the vet’s office.
From a behavior standpoint, the only negative I’ve seen is that he does still chew on things that are not his. Clothing and shoes seem to be the main target, and bras are a particular favorite. Fortunately, he shows no interest in the furniture, so it’s easy enough to keep the other items out of his reach.
What’s to love about Becks? Pretty much everything. As noted above, he is a happy happy doggy. And there is nothing he likes better than to have someone’s hands on him. Especially if they are telling him what a good boy he is. And Beckett is a very good boy. Other than the chewing, Beckett has exceptional house manners. He doesn’t get on the furniture, even if you try to coax him up, and he doesn’t jump on people. While I’m at work, he stays in the spare bedroom behind a baby gate, and he doesn’t fuss or challenge the barrier. He’s even familiar enough with my morning routine that he goes to the gate and waits for me when he knows I’m almost ready to leave. He has some interesting vocalizations, and he may be a bit on the barky side. It’s hard to tell, because Laddy is the barkingest dog in all of Barkington, and Beckett mostly barks at Laddy.
As for living with a blind dog? It’s not a whole lot different than living with a sighted dog. Sometimes I forget and make gestures to him, then we both have a good laugh at how silly I am. I wouldn’t recommend a home with a lot of stairs, but he manages the three steps down into my backyard just fine. Okay, truthfully, he has decided that creeping down the stairs like a blind dog is for suckers, and now he just leaps off like he’s Superdog or something. Which he is.
Someone had a Spa Day.
Doesn't he look fabulous?
Well, as Beckett will be the first to tell you, it isn't easy being pretty.
First comes the shampoo...
Then the blow dry...
"Ok, maybe this isn't so bad after all..."
And of course, no spa day is complete without a pawdicure. Beckett's stylist proclaimed him the "calmest client she's ever had."
The end result!
But why all the fuss?
Because Mr. Beckett has a Very Important Appointment coming up this week. Our handsome pal is scheduled to meet with the Canine Ophthalmologist to determine whether or not his cataracts can be corrected. Being blind hasn't slowed him down much at all, but things will be so much better for Becks if he can see!
Fingers and paws crossed!
It has been pointed out to me that I am long overdue for an update on Beckett. Fair enough, and true enough. But fear not, Mr. Beckett is doing just fine. Of course, if you ask him, he’ll tell you how unfair it is that he is not allowed to wrestle with his foster brother, Laddy, or provide crucial back-up barking when Laddy has determined that, yet again, the mailman is out to kill us all. Mr. Beckett would also like to be allowed to bounce around the backyard at full speed, head high, tail wagging.
But he can’t. Beckett had his first regular heartworm treatment on June 1, and has been on limited activity ever since. He will receive his second treatment, a series of two injections over two days, on July 2 and 3, followed by another month of limited activity.
“Will I EVER get to play?” Beckett wonders.
Count on it, Buddy. In early August, we will have him tested once again for heartworms, and if it comes back clear, the leash comes off. But only temporarily. After that, GLBCR will take Beckett to a canine eye specialist to see if something can be done about his cataracts.
Until then, don’t worry about Beckett. His fur is starting to come back – he’s at the fuzzy-wuzzy stage of regrowth – and he continues to be the waggiest dog in town. He may not be able to wrestle with his foster siblings, but Bitey-Face is still on the menu. On a related note, Becket’s best Bitey-Face buddy, Avery, will be going naked for the remainder of his stay, as he has already chewed two collars off her neck. Did I mention Beckett is a bit of a chewer? He mostly limits himself to dog toys and empty Diet Pepsi bottles, but every once in a while….
“It’s because I’m blind,” he assures me. “How can I tell if I’m chewing on a people thing if I can’t see it?”
You keep telling yourself that, Buddy.
Beckett has been with us for about a week now, and we cannot say enough nice things about this dog. He has excellent house manners, plays well with others, and will soak up as much attention as you can spare without being a pest about it. Becks is a very good boy.
But why the funny haircut?
Because this is what Beckett looked like when we first met him.
Thanks to a local volunteer who was literally a life-saver, Beckett was pulled from the shelter and taken to the vet. At his initial visit, Beckett was sedated and shaved down. He weighed 38 pounds when he arrived, and 31 pounds once he had been groomed. That’s seven pounds of matted hair.
Beckett’s problems were only beginning. He is heartworm positive and essentially blind due to cataracts. Plus, there is some atrophy in his left leg that indicates a potential hip problem. Still, his tail never stops wagging. How could we not help this happy little guy?
Dogs like Beckett are why we run fundraisers. GLBCR had Beckett fully vaccinated, x-rayed, and blood tests run. Then it was time to bring him to his foster home. That’s where the wonderful folks at Pilots N Paws come in. Three pilots stepped up to fly Beckett from Tennessee to Michigan, a transport run that would have probably taken two days and a whole lot of drivers to wrangle.
Beckett getting ready to fly, with two of the Pilots N Paws pilots, along with Angel, another dog making her way to her forever home.
"Y'know, once you've been on one plane..." (h/t to Sam Lanham!)
This is not the first time Pilots N Paws has stepped up for GLBCR, and we cannot thank them enough.
Beckett settled into his foster home like he lived there his whole life. Introductions with other dogs have to be managed carefully, because Becks can’t read their body language and gets scared easily. Fortunately, his three foster siblings are all seniors and have “been there, done that.” Other than a little competitive marking in the backyard with his foster brother, Laddy, things are peaceful. (For a blind guy, Beckett has claimed an awful lot of territory – Laddy is going to have to step up his game). He got right with the program when it came to getting treats at the back door. Because he cannot see the treat, he just tilts his head back and holds his mouth open like a baby bird!
Step one on Beckett’s “road to wellness” has begun. He was neutered this past Friday, and x-rays were taken of his hips. We’re still waiting to hear from the veterinarian on what he found.
GLBCR thanks everyone who had a hand in bringing Beckett into our care. We couldn’t have happened to a nicer dog.