By Josh Saunders
A rescue dog that needed her eyes removed after being abandoned twice is adapting to life without sight after finding a new home.
Miyoshi, the two-year-old Akita, underwent life-altering surgery after suffering with glaucoma and an autoimmune disease that caused her body to attack the retina and other parts of her eyes.
Prior to the operation at Michigan Humane Society, she was suffering agonising pain and her condition was only due to worsen.
After being put up for adoption, Tyler Keith and Abby Richardson, 25 and 24, from Allen Park, Michigan, USA, took Miyoshi in after they fell in love with her, this September.
The courageous canine has adapted to life with her new owners, using her enhanced hearing and sense of smell to adapt to everyday tasks – from negotiating her way around rooms to walking down the stairs.
Despite strangers pitying her and often remarking how ‘weird’ she looks, the couple say Miyoshi is extremely happy, loving and just like any other dog.
Abby, who works for UPS, said: “She is just happy her eyes don’t hurt anymore, it was good for her and she’s very happy.
“She is a very loving and loyal dog, she absolutely adores us.
“When people see her, they are shocked and comment how ‘weird’ it is that she doesn’t have eyes, but it doesn’t bother us.
“They feel very sad for her at first, but we tell them how happy she is.
“They are shocked that we would adopt a special needs pet as our first dog together, but Miyoshi gets around fine.
“They comment that they have never seen an eyeless dog before and for them it’s a little shocking to see.
“I think she is the perfect dog for us. She is very calm, playful and protective, I’m excited to know we can get married and start our family together.”
Despite her lack of sight, Miyoshi has learned to use her other senses to help her.
The couple also believe her good memory has aided her too, especially on walks where she is able to recognise where she is and stops at the edge of the curb.
Tyler said: “She has a very good sense of smell and hearing, so when people move around the house she faces them right away as if she can see them.
“The hair around her eyes look like it’s shaved so it’s like she has a little mask on, which normally draws attention.
“When Abby’s family came over, her aunt didn’t know that Miyoshi didn’t have eyes until we told her, because she is able to walk around so well.”
Initially, the couple had to adapt and learn how to teach their dog in different ways, for Miyoshi visual signals are ineffective but after getting her into a routine she has quickly settled in.
Abby said: “She is the first dog we have owned with this severe of a disability, but there is no difference to any other dog.
“You have to know that giving he a dirty look won’t do anything, so we talk to her more than I have any other dog.
“When she wakes from a nap, she thinks she is alone so you have to talk to her too.
“It takes more patience for them to get used to their environment, but if you give them love they will give even more love back to you.”
Since moving in Miyoshi has learned the family’s work routines and while she battles with separation anxiety they believe she is getting better.
Tyler and Abby try to make her life simpler by keeping the house layout the same and not moving objects around – as well as finding noisy toys, which are more fun for her.
He said: “She has a noise toy, which is a mouse that sings when you squeeze his belly.
“She can play fetch better with that, when I throw it she will go right to it, rather than the toy making a single sound when it hits the floor and her having to find it, she can hear and find it.”
It’s believed Miyoshi’s anxiety stems from being abandoned twice – the most recent was believed to be because her owners could not afford her treatment.
When she arrived at Michigan Human Society (MHS) she was blind from her conditions.
Her eyesight deterioration was caused by a combination of glaucoma, as well as developing an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the skin, retinas and other parts of the eye.
Deborah Land, shelter veterinarian at MHS Detroit, said: “This condition is most often seen in Akitas like Miyoshi, and some other sled dog type breeds.
“Glaucoma is a painful condition, and due to the underlying cause, Miyoshi’s glaucoma would not improve with any medical or surgical treatment.
“Since she was already blind, the decision was made to remove both her eyes to provide pain relief. She also seemed well adjusted to her blindness at that time.
“Usually dogs with Uveodermatologic syndrome have some skin issues also – vitiligo, or pigment loss, especially on the face, and also sores or crusts on the face.
“Miyoshi did develop some skin lesions while she was in our care, but was successfully treated with medication to suppress her immune system for a short time.
“The most severe part of this condition is the development of uveitis and glaucoma, which is no longer an issue with her eyes removed.
“Interestingly, there is a human disease that closely resembles this- Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome. Uveodermatologic syndrome is also called Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada like syndrome.”
To support the organisation, find out more or adopt a pet, visit: www.michiganhumane.org.