Articles Index/Norfolk Tales
Posted 08/03/98


My name is Andrew McCrary and I am 12-1/2 years old. Domby's Jingle of Pickwick is my wonderful dog. Jingle likes to go outside and bark at Maggie, Chloe, Abby, and Roxie, the neighborhood dogs. She was my very best Christmas present of 1997. The thing that makes Jingle so amazing is not the tricks she can do, but how she copes with her problem. She is a dog everyone can take a lesson from. Jingle is blind.

Jingle was born September 21, 1997, at Domby's Cricket Hill Farm. Her dam is Ch. Domby's Miss Clara Peggoty and her sire is Ch. Hemlock Lane Spend a Buck of Domby (Buck). Jingle's breeders are Wayne Palmer and Tony Gabrielli. They name many of their dogs after characters from the novels of Charles Dickens. Wayne is one of my skating teachers, also. Jingle was the smallest of a litter of four puppies, weighing only 1.9 ounces at birth and just as big as Wayne's thumb. Tony and Wayne took very good care of her to keep her alive. Now she weighs nine pounds and has a very pretty reddish coat. Since she was the smallest of her litter, it appears she will always be on the small size, but I will love her always.

Jingle really likes to go outside. When we got her, she was not good at walking on a leash. She would get in between your feet. But now she knows the right way to walk. When I take her on walks, I let her go visit Maggie, Chloe and Roxie, the other dogs that live on our street. With Matthew and Stephen (the owners of Maggie the dog) we like to roll a tire down the street and Jingle likes to follow and bark at the tire. Once she got inside the tire while it was moving, but we got her out okay. I can tell Jingle likes to go outside to play because when I put her down on the ground with her leash on, she starts to jump up and down with excitement.

When Jingle was about four months old, she was examined by a veterinary opthalmologist along with all her litter mates. He said they were all normal, but Jingle's problem was congenital. (As with Jingle's, a congenital problem is one which is present at birth, but does not necessarily have a genetic basis. Ed.) Her blood vessels did not develop properly to reach her optic nerves, and she was born without any retinas. That makes her permanently blind. She gets along just fine being blind. A dog trainer told us that sight is the sense least used by dogs. Jingle uses her other senses to help her. She is very smart and figures things out. The very first thing she learned was "careful", which meant she was up high and could fall if she went over the edge of the sofa, chair or bed. When I say, "Careful, Jingle!" she scoots back away from the edge so she knows she is safe.

Jingle uses her very good hearing to find people and to find her way to where she wants to go. She recognizes specific people by their voices and smells. She can find everyone in our family by our voices, whether we are all over the house, or in the same room. She always gets very excited when she hears Tony or Wayne talking, and she always recognizes them, even at different places, like the vet's office or at the different skating rinks we go to. Once she heard her name spoken on TV, and she walked right over to it.

Jingle's hearing also helps her find her way. At first she would bump into the furniture, but now she has learned where the furniture is in every room and she doesn't bump into it anymore. She used to continue to bump into her X-pen, but my Dad noticed she never bumped into the two wooden chests of drawers next to it. So he put a piece of cardboard on the side of the X-pen and she stopped bumping into it. My Dad said it was because the sound waves bounce off the cardboard, but they pass through the X-pen, so Jingle was confused whether there was something there or not. Even a towel hung on the side of the pen worked to help her. So she uses sound waves like a dolphin. She knows the sound is different in a room or a hallway if a door is open or closed. Now she is so confident, she runs from one end of the house to the other without bumping into a thing. When she hears your footsteps and wants to come, since she can't see you, she gets right between your feet. We put a little jingle bell on her collar so we know where she is and so she doesn't get stepped on.

Jingle loves her toys and plays for a long time with them. She enjoys pulling them out of the box one at a time and bringing them tome to play with her. By bedtime the floor is covered with her toys scattered about. Her favorite toy is a blue rubber dumbbell with a little bell inside. She likes toys that make a sound, or have a smell, because they are easier for her to find and play with. Jingle's sense of smell helps her find places and things. She uses her smelling sense to find her food and she goes right to it to eat. If we close a door that is usually open, or put out something unfamiliar or new, Jingle will smell and growl at it, like she is figuring it out. All of us can learn from Jingle because she tries hard to do things that normal dogs can do, and she usually pulls through. She has even learned to climb up two flights of stairs like it is a piece of cake. People should try to be like Jingle and not give up too easily.

Domby's Jingle of Pickwick is a dog everyone can learn from. She loves to play, any time, any day. She loves to go out in the car. She is permanently blind, but I love her. She loves people and is full of fun. I say she allures people with her cuteness. The teacher of her clicker training class said she is a very confident little dog, who looks like she swallowed a Smurf! She has learned to do many things in a short time. Jingle is and always will be my wonderful dog!

Andrew McCrary
ANTIC, June, 1998

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