Today is Liam’s birthday, and as the title of this post indicates, he is thirteen years old. I still remember what a little Tasmanian devil Liam was when he was a puppy, and Liam remained energetic in his senior years until he went blind.
Poor dog buddy! His blindness has really slowed him down, and the other day, he banged his beautiful long nose on something—we don’t know what—and now his nose is horribly swollen on one side. Fortunately, his appetite is still good, and his bruised nose hasn’t interfered with his eating.
During a recent storm, some large branches had fallen in our backyard next to the bird feeders. They made excellent perches for the birds, and so we left them there. Liam had his paths for doing his business, and none of the branches were in his paths. However, the rains that came on Saturday did two things—it reduced the amount of snow we had, and it made the remaining snow so hard that Liam can now leave the paths and wander at will in the backyard.
Clif and I wondered, did Liam run into one of those branches and hurt his nose? We have no way of knowing, but we decided not to take any chances. Yesterday, we cleared out all those branches—some of them were quite large—and threw them over the fence into the woods. The birds no longer have perches directly by the feeders, but as we have so many trees in our backyard, it really doesn’t matter. There are plenty of other branches for the birds, and they are still coming in great numbers to the bird feeders and suet.
Swollen nose aside, Liam is holding his own. We have adjusted the way we do things. His blindness has affected his whole system, and Liam is now on a special diet that includes vitamins. No more walks off the leash, and his walks are much shorter. We don’t like to leave him for more than five hours even though he has never messed in the house while we were gone. No overnight guests who are not family as Liam sometimes barks in the middle of the night to go outside.
However, as we recently told our friends Beth and John, we love our dog buddy so much that we never resent the extra care involved as Liam has aged and gone blind. For the most part, unless he bumps into something, Liam is comfortable, and his appetite is good.
In honor of Liam’s birthday, here is a picture, complete with a Tolkien quotation, of Liam when he could still see. The photo, used as a card, was taken on the trails behind the town’s high school, one of Liam’s favorite places before he went blind.
So happy birthday to one of the best and sweetest dogs in Winthrop.