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Job search tenacity through a blind dog’s eyes.

Bart wandered in our lives on a Saturday night. Strangely enough, he appeared on the eve of the day we said good-bye to Sadie. It was almost as if he knew there’d be an opening for a dog at our house and he was Johnny-on-the-spot ready to fill it. We had and now, thanks to Bart, still have six dogs …

At first glance, I thought he was a young dog. Always smiling, tail wagging, full of energy and happy, incredibly, smile-inspiring happy. A good friendBart 3-15-09 (Compressed) and veterinarian was kind enough to make a house call and help us with Sadie. When he finished he gave Bart the once over. Turns out Bart is an old dog. His front teeth are worn to nubs. He coughs like an old man who smoked three packs of Camel no-filter cigarettes, every day of his life since birth. He’s blind in his left eye and has very limited, if any, vision in his right eye. His previous owners “lost” him. And now he’s joined a family of five other dogs – all female and one of them a brat. You’d think he’d be crabby. In human terms, he has valid reasons for a dour disposition right? But, did I mention he’s always happy?

Watching Bart stumble around the house the past six months has made me think of how his new life parallels a job search. He’s in uncharted territory; someplace he’s never been before. I’m sure he bumped around in the area surrounding our house until he found his way up our driveway. Almost like a job seeker looking for the next opportunity. We don’t train to be unemployed. It’s not something studied, but suddenly, there you are stumbling around in a place you’ve never been, frightened at what’s around the next corner and not sure exactly where you’ll end up. The security and comfort of life as you knew it, gone. Did Bart get frustrated in his search? I can’t answer that, but can assume he probably did, plowing through dense woods and rough terrain, tripping and falling. But he didn’t stop until he found the right driveway. Ours. Not bad for an old, coughing, blind dog lost in the middle of nowhere. He stuck with it and forged on. I’m sure his happy outlook got him through many briars.

Living with an active blind dog is interesting. I’ve learned many lessons watching his approach to things. He plows through the house, running headlong into things, hitting with such a thud I wince. Does it stop him? Nope. He backs up, shakes it off and changes his course just a bit. Almost as if to say, hmmmm, that didn’t work, let’s try this. Sound like a job search? This isn’t working, let’s tweak the strategy a bit and get back out there.

Lucy, my brat dog, is frequently annoyed with him bumping into to her. She growls and postures and sometimes pushes back to let him know her boundaries. Bart takes it with a grain of salt. She gets crabby; he backs up and goes a different way or waits his turn. Every now and again he pushes back. He goes with the flow, demonstrates patience when required, yet fights for himself when necessary. Sound like a job search strategy?

Bart has a deep, menacing bark, one that hangs in the air and resonates for a moment before it fades. If he’s outside and you ride past my house, I know it. He barks at anything that goes up or down “his road”. And if you dare pull in his driveway, he leaps to his feet and barks fiercely – usually facing the wrong direction – but no less convicted in his approach and belief he is protecting his people. Sounds like he’s pretty sure of his ability to protect (his skill set) and is not afraid to bark it from the mountaintops. Isn’t that how a job search ends in success, confidence in skills and a bold demonstration of said skill set?

Because he’s the only dog I haven’t trained to the Invisible Fence, up until recently, he stayed inside when no one was home. That is until he discovered we keep the dog food in the pantry. The pantry has a sliding latch that had been successful in keeping all of the dogs out, until Bart. He figured out how to push on the doors in a certain way, rendering the latch ineffective. OK. He beat the latch. Next we put a folding table in front of the doors. When we came home, he’d knocked that out of the way, and got into the food. Then we put a heavy, four-case stack of bottled tea in front of the doors. You guessed it. Pushed aside. The next time we left, we enlisted the aid of Heidi, our ferret, and put her six-foot tall cage, squarely in front of both doors. She enjoyed the ride around the kitchen and Bart enjoyed a snack once he’d moved her cage out of the way. Harrumph. What to do now? I took a six-foot leash and tied the door handles together. Hubby came home and found one of the louvered doors completely off the track, laying in the floor … and a smiling, full Bart. He now stays in the pen outside when we leave. Although, we discovered he likes to dig, not sure how long that will hold him. Oh to have that level of commitment, tenacity and focus about getting what we want in a job search or life in general for that matter.

So what job search lessons does Bart teach, just by being Bart? A happy disposition and a desire to get along will endear you to those around you. Had he been a grumpy, crabby dog, who picked fights with everyone and chased the cats I would have made a different decision about keeping him. He was in the right place at the right time because he kept trying. I’m sure he’d been up and down the road for a while. He was mighty hungry when he got here, but he kept trying until he found a welcoming home. He doesn’t let blindness, lack of teeth or a debilitating cough stop him. He backs up, changes his path, stops to hack a moment and keeps on moving. He may be an old boy, but gives off a youthful air and approaches things with a joie de vie I can only hope to duplicate. Overall, after getting to know Bart, I’ve decided we could all use a little more Bart-itude in our lives.

PS – For those concerned about Bart’s cough, it’s a sure sign his previous owners didn’t have him on heartworm prevention. The vet said, with the way he coughs and his age, he probably wouldn’t survive the treatment. He’ll live out his days here, giving and receiving unconditional love until he draws his last breath. He’s where he’s supposed to be.


UPDATE: Bart left us on October 28, 2010. Not wanting to be a bother, he quietly slipped off in to the words surrounding our home, sprouted angel wings and crossed the rainbow bridge. Your vivacious spirit and accompanying life lessons are sadly missed my boy.

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  1. Tnelson says:

    Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

  2. I love Bart to little bits!!! And I love you for taking him in. You are such a sweetheart 🙂

  3. dawnbugni says:

    Louise –

    Bart says woof! You’re pretty special too. I concur.

  4. Dawn I am just so taken with the way you told Bart’s story and tied it into the hard work of a job search.

    We just lost our beloved Rusty. We adopted him at 2 when he was rescued from a hoarder that starved and neglected dogs, cats, etc. He went blind in his 10th year and spent the last 4 years of his life that way.

    He was the biggest trouble-maker, had an unnatural fondness for eating napkins, paper towels and tissues, discovered how to open cabinet doors and dug in every trash can he could still find after he went blind……but he made you laugh through all of it and we wouldn’t have traded the best behaved dog for a minute of the time we had with this guy.

    He also navigated his life with two other dogs and pushed back when he needed to and went with the flow when he wanted to.

    Your blog brought me to tears remembering him. It’s great to find another nutty animal owner :-> I thought my husband & I were crazy with out 3 but you have us beat!

    You must be a special person.

  5. dawnbugni says:

    Fran – THANK YOU for your kind words about my writing and visiting my blog.

    Your recollection of Rusty brought tears to my eyes. In my view, you and your husband are mighty special too. :o)

    Rusty is good company. I’ve got lots of beloved fur-children waiting over the Rainbow Bridge. They’re all whole again, running and playing free.

    I would list the number of fur-, feather- and fin-children that share life with Gary and me now, but then you’d know how nutty I really was.

    Animals can teach us so much, if we’d only take the time to listen and learn.

  6. Debra says:

    I too learned much from the experience of living with a sighted dog that went blind at 7 (SARDS). I remember the panic in his eyes and the sadness in ours. But what we both learned (he sooner than us) was that everything is a lesson, and life is learning to successfully navigate all of the gift’s you get. Job Search is a lesson evryone needs to learn. You are a better and more focused person to have had this experience, and better able to tackle the ups and downs in all facets. There are lessons everywhere.

  7. dawnbugni says:

    Debra – My favorite thing about dogs: they don’t waste time wondering and worrying. They shake it off and get on with their day. Wish I could remember that valuable lesson more frequently in my own life.

    Thanks for stopping by AND taking the time to comment.

  8. Melissa says:

    What a touching story! And such a happy face 🙂 It’s easy to see why you love Bart so much.

    Our dog, Toby, is almost 12 and had some problems that permanently affected his vision about five years ago. His keen sense of smell and his hearing haven’t been affected, though — he always seems to know when I have my two kids sitting at the kitchen table, and Toby always manages to coax a snack or two out of them!

  9. dawnbugni says:

    Melissa – Thank you.

    Bart has no hearing loss either. He quickly identifies and takes advantage of food opportunities.

    When I worked at a vet I watched a blind kitten bat a ball all around the kennel — never lost track of it once. A little more focus, a little less whine would serve us all well — in a job search, in business, in life.

    Thanks for taking a moment to share.

  10. Laurent says:

    Thank you so much for this story that really moved me!
    I already sent this story to a couple of friends to share it…
    At the end of the day, job search is also about love, love for yourself, and love for others.


  11. dawnbugni says:

    Laurent –

    Thank you for visiting and for sharing Bart’s story.

    I LOVE your analogy:
    “At the end of the day, job search is also about love, love for yourself, and love for others.”

    You are so right!

  12. […] The other day, I was waiting for a train at my station…and I was at the same time observing the pigeons hanging around on the platform (the idea of this article came from reading this awesome story, Job Search Tenacity through a blind dog) […]

  13. I popped over to your blog the other day, Dawn, and saw the picture of Bart and thought I need to read this post. I was busy (when not?) and moved on. But today I stopped, knowing that anything you write is outstanding and I have to pay more attention.

    You know that Teddy changed my life and now I totally understand stories about dogs. When I listened to your story of Bart, tears are glistening in my eyes. What tenacity! The tale of trying to get to the food is amazing and your connection to the job search is right on. I see so many people seeking for jobs that lose hope who have many less challenges than Bart does.

    The key to a successful job search is indeed the courage to keep on trying and find new ways even when it is touch and the deck is stacked against you.

    Thank you for sharing, my talented and caring friend!

  14. dawnbugni says:

    Julie –

    And now I have tears glistening in my eyes, geez, rolling down my cheeks. I don’t even know what to say (and you KNOW that doesn’t happen often.) Thank you — and that’s not really big enough.

    Hugs to you my dear, dear friend. And a biscuit for Teddy too!

  15. Marian Bernard says:

    Stories about pets like Bart – and how they enrich our lives – just fascinate me! Rodney, my constant companion, is a 9.5-year-old beagle / springer spaniel cross who could consult about dishing out unconditional love.
    Thank you, Dawn, for a heart-warming story on an otherwise gray and damp day!
    – Marian Bernard

  16. dawnbugni says:

    Marian –

    Thank YOU for sharing such kind words on an equally gray and damp day here in North Carolina. Much appreciated. Hugs from my crew to Rodney. I’ll bet he’s a handsome boy.

  17. tax jobs says:

    your post is helpful and informative

  18. […] stories or case studies: Job Search Tenacity through a blind dog or this one Horror and funny job search […]

  19. […] what else Dawn Bugni, CPRW has to say about Bart, his “Bart-ittude” and the job […]

  20. Lisa says:

    My belated condolences for your losses (both dogs).

    I have to say, though, re: “Bart-itude”? I love that! Great story. Thanks for sharing it.

  21. Dawn says:

    Lisa –

    I can feel your condolences, like a warm hug, through the screen. Thank you. Both Bart and Sadie were very special and are missed. Dogs add so much joy and can teach us so much about life … if we just take the time to listen.


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