Nov 23

Isobel, a six-year-old husky cross, is a great sled dog with strength, endurance and team spirit. She’s also blind. Isobel runs lead in tandem with another husky for Jenafor Ollander in Churchill, Manitoba.

isobel.pngIsobel went blind three years ago when her retinas detached, possibly the result of a virus.

“I remember a couple of people mumbling, `What good is a blind sled dog? You should just take her out and shoot her.’ And I’m a bit stubborn in nature … and I said, ‘So what if she can’t be a sled dog? she’s a good dog.’ ”

Ollander then kept Isobel at home, figuring she would be safer and happer. But Isobel stopped eating and became depressed until she was returned to her pack and hooked up to the sled again.

“That dog ran like you wouldn’t believe. She ran better than when she had her eyesight,” Ollander said, noting Isobel relies on the other dogs, human vocal commands, and her other senses to avoid obstacles.isobel-left-front.png

“I believe that their senses adapt and they adjust, just like a person,” Ollander said. “We know that people hone in well on their hearing skills and their sense of vibration and time and distance and smell and everything like that. And dogs become really acute at that. When they lose their vision, the rest of their senses kind of take over.”

Isobel still has a couple of good running years left in her. But she’s nearing the age when many sled dogs hang up their harness and finding a good home for her might be a challenge.

“We’ve had several people who’ve offered to adopt her … but we’re really concerned because she just loves to run,” Ollander said. “We want to make sure that she doesn’t end up in a situation where she gets depressed again.”

Nov 13

As our eyes age, it becomes more difficult to tell a 3 from an 8 when playing cards.

large-print-playing-cards.pngThe solution is a deck with larger numbers and there are some great decks to be had. If you or someone you know quit playing cards because of aging eyes, buy them a amazon.com

Warning: These may make it easier for your sneaky friends to cheat.