After a long struggle, including surgery, 15 different medications and about $5000 in vet bills, my dog Jave is blind and we have given up the fight.

Jave was pretty depressed for a while.  At least I assume that’s what it means when a dog declines to get out of his bed in the morning, even to eat his breakfast.  I get depressed when the sun doesn’t come out for days in a row,  so I can only imagine what it must be like to wake up in pitch blackness every single day.

Daniel Gilbert’s book Stumbling on Happiness says that humans are amazingly resilient—paraplegics, a year after becoming so,  self-report being just as happy as lottery winners.   This may be synthesized happiness, but studies say it’s just as real as the real kind.   I’m waiting to see if dogs are the same way, and while it’s too early to tell, it seems that Jave is adjusting pretty well.  It’s me that doesn’t want to adjust.

When I’m not traveling, my whole day is structured around Jave, with the highlight being our daily afternoon hikes.  I always thought Jave lived for those hikes.  We still go, but now it’s a very slow, short walk on the smoothest trails I can find.  It’s a walk, not a hike.  What will fill the void for us?  Gilbert says that we are terrible at predicting what will make us happy in the future because we can’t imagine things feeling different than they do in the present.  I wish I would stop thinking about Gilbert’s book and the many ways in which he’s right, because he’s also depressing.

As for Jave, he might eventually stumble on happiness but right now he just stumbles.

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