Dog who was born blind fooled owners into believing he could see for seven years


A Border Collie has been called a “medical mystery” after tricking its owner into believing he could see.

Dave, who is said to be between five and seven, was born completely blind – but it took him his whole life to get a diagnosis.

He spent his life between homes and in rescue centers until Jane Downes, 69, of Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, adopted him last year.

One of Britain’s top vets, who declared it a “medical mystery”, recently discovered that Dave was born with completely underdeveloped retinas.

Jane, from Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, said: “Nobody has an answer. It’s just a riddle. It’s really weird. He’s a blind dog who can see.

Dave the border collie

“Maybe it’s a sixth sense, who knows?” He fooled everyone – even me as the owner, I was fooled for nine months. “

When Jane bought Dave from an animal rescue center in February 2020, there were no issues with his eyesight, even after a check-up at the local vet.

Jane added: “He jumped in the back of the car and I drove him home.

“A few people said he had funny eyes, but I just thought he had beautiful eyes.

“A few times he got into things, but I attributed that to the fact that he was a sheepdog who more than likely lived in a barn rather than a house. He wouldn’t be wrong. He would come back. when you called her. “

Dave and owner Jane
Dave and owner Jane

But in December, when Dave stumbled upon a walk at a pet store in Cambridge, the store owner suggested to Jane that her dog might be blind.

She took Dave to a specialist vet, where they eventually found out that he was totally blind and that his retinas had never developed, meaning he was blind from birth.

After the revelation, Jane enlisted the help of David Williams from the University of Cambridge, a leading veterinary ophthalmologist, who arranged two obstacle course challenges for Dave and a retina test, which confirmed the diagnosis.

He told a local newspaper: “I see a lot of blind dogs and they all bump into things in ways Dave didn’t see – so right now it’s a mystery medical.

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“Just because I’ve been doing this for 33 years doesn’t mean I’ve seen it all, and I can’t explain that. In life, you like to think you know everything, but this is not always the case. “

Dave now enjoys running around the house with his new brother Sammy, a two-year-old Border Collie, who joined the family in October.

Jane, who lives with husband Mick, 78, said Dave had a happy and full life.

She added, “He goes straight to his food. He chases other dogs even though he can’t see them. He can jump in the trunk of my car. He walks in puddles.

“On the very rare occasion that he gets into something, he just ignores it and goes on.”

Dave’s only limitation is his fear of going overboard – but Jane isn’t sure if this is due to his blindness or a possible traumatic experience as a puppy.

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