by Clever Mason of Fox Haven Farm
My new friend Frankie and I hit it off right away--we’re both Yellow Labs, for starters. And we share a love for Nylabones, back scratches, and blueberry dog cookies. Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered that Frankie is blind….
We were playing fetch, and I noticed that Frankie couldn’t find the ball immediately and couldn’t catch it in mid-air like I do. I razzed him a little about it, but he just smiled. Later, while settling in for our afternoon siesta, Frankie said, “I’m blind, you know. At least, that’s what everybody tells me.” He sighed and rolled over with his back against mine. Soon he was gently snoring without a care in the world. I, on the other hand, felt terrible, guilty that I was too short-sighted to notice my friend’s problem.
My mom, Sue, explained to me that love is blind: we don’t see the imperfections in those we love, only the beauty. I nodded in agreement. No argument there. Then my mom told me that Frankie and I both have OSD, Oculo-Skeletal Dysplasia, a genetic condition marked by skeletal deformities and blindness. Frankie’s OSD affected his eyes more severely than his bones, while my OSD shows in my Charlie Chaplinesque legs (that’s how I think of myself….).
My mom told me that breeders can perform a simple test to see if their dogs carry the OSD genes, but some irresponsible breeders care only about making a profit from the puppies. Guess who pays the price?
And if you would like to learn more about OSD, please go to http://www.optigen.com/opt9_rdosd.html.