Sesame, a 2-year-old Shar-Pei who had incredibly robust and luxurious skin folds around both eyes and ears, was brought into San Antonio’s Animal Care Services in February.
Staff soon found out those skin folds were so luxurious, he couldn’t see.
“It’s not uncommon for Shar-Peis to have vision problems related to their wrinkles covering their eyes, but this was an extreme case,” Seamus Nelson, the director of communications for the Humane Society, told ABC News. “It took a little bit of assessment to realize that he cannot see and he smelled horrible.”
The dog was transferred to the San Antonio Humane Society, which has a rescue fund to help special-needs animals. Sesame certainly fit the bill. He needed a face-lift, which is quite common for Shar-Peis.
Sesame, however, was an extreme case — he had “inches” of rolls that needed to be removed rather than one inch or less, which is more typical. But after surgeries in February and March, Sesame can finally see. He also had his ears pinned back to allow more ventilation.
In this case, blame bad breeding.
“Some breeder got a little wrinkle happy and bred wrinkles upon wrinkles upon wrinkles,” Nelson said. “[The facial surgery for Shar-Peis] is very rarely done to this extreme.”
Overbreeding for wrinkles is also dangerous to the dog’s eyes.
“The rolls will cause the eyelids to grow into the sockets rather than over the eyes, and that is what causes damage to the eyeballs,” Nelson said.
Sesame, however, is not 20/20 yet. Since his eyes were damaged and underdeveloped, it will take some time. But the dog is responding well.
“He can basically see what we are assuming is shadows, but he can definitely see now,” he said. “He’s just so happy to be outside. Imagine not being able to see for your whole life and then suddenly being able to. I’m sure it was initially overwhelming.”
Another good thing about this story? Sesame was just adopted by a San Antonio woman named Teresa who saw his plight on the news. She seemed like the right person, having owned several Shar-Peis in the past.
“We live for days like this,” said Nelson, via a Facebook post, “to connect friends for life, especially with pets like Sesame who we have had the pleasure of spending time with and getting to know while we helped him heal.”