Some things have changed since Butch’s blindness and some haven’t. When he hears noises outside now, he still goes to stand at the window and "look out." Sometimes, if the blinds are closed, he scratches them with his paw, turns his face in my direction and waits for me to open them for him–which I do. Then he lies on the floor with his head on the windowsill and "watches" with his ears and his nose.
His ears and nose have taken up the slack for his missing eyes and are much more sensitive now than before he had to rely on them. He can hear a soft whisper across the room, and he can smell food before the refrigerator door is fully open. I hand him his treats now, instead of tossing them to him, but if a treat happens to hit the floor, he’s usually the first dog to get to it.
Butch is cuddlier than he was when he had eyes, probably because he likes to be close to his people so he can keep up with what’s going on. He likes to sleep with his head on my lap, one paw planted on my arm or my chest, and I like it, too. But he can also be a little overbearing when he sits beside me on the sofa, wide awake and drooling, his ears cocked and his nose two inches from my mouth, listening and sniffing for every subtle change in my breathing pattern. I’m learning patience, and Butch is learning to back off a little bit when he hears me say, "Butch, you’re in my personal space."
With all the hair grown back on his face, he is once again a handsome dog. He has neat black lines where his eyes used to be (the vet did an outstanding job). The empty spaces behind the lines are a little sunken in, but not much. I expected Butch’s face to be less animated without his eyes, but it isn’t. Maybe the muscles around the eyes, not the eyes themselves, create the "window to the soul."
Even though Butch’s eyes don’t open now, he still blinks, and he can furrow his brow and twitch his face to display his whole range of doggy emotions. More than anything else, he looks like he’s sleeping. And the best thing, the thing that warms my heart and makes me want to just hold him and squeeze him tight, is that his eyes still move when he dreams.