She has no eyes and can’t hear, but Margaux the Standard Poodle still has the love of her family, and — thanks to social media — a network of far-flung fans and friends.
“At any particular time, she’s surrounded by her three sisters and either Laura or myself, and I think that gives her a great deal of comfort,” says Scott Jordan, Margaux’s human and the man behind the hashtag, #rootformargaux.
He’s been sharing photos and videos of Margaux and her seeing eye sisters — Poodles Susie, Chloe, and Rhonda — since his dog lost her eyes and hearing due to a puzzling medical condition that first appeared when Margaux was 8 years old.
“She developed this really bizarre infection on her foot. It looked like a snake had bitten her. No one could figure it out. It was very odd,” Scott recalls.
Scott and his wife, Laura, brought Margaux to a veterinary specialist in Boise as the mysterious infection moved from the dog’s foot to her face. Margaux was eventually diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
“Her body just attacks itself,” Scott explains. “We managed it over time using a cocktail of medicines.”
For several years, Margaux did well on medications, but in May her disease attacked one of her eyes. Under the care of a specialist, Scott and Laura agreed to have the painful, deteriorating eye removed.
“It just never occurred to us that the other eye was going to go shortly thereafter, but it did. In August, we had to take her second eye out,” says Scott.
He remembers the time as a difficult one for his family. After losing her eyes, Margaux was very disoriented, and euthanasia was discussed, but her humans could see that she was just not done living yet, and they vowed to help her adjust to her new way of life.
“We do perimeter tours nightly so that she’ll know the pattern of the house,” Scott explains, adding that while Margaux hasn’t yet managed to memorized his homes’s floor plan, she hasn’t given up either.
“When her sisters are sleeping, Margaux is up, mapping out the entire house,” he says.
She may be hard at work at night, but Margaux is just one of the pack in the daytime. Scott says her Poodle sisters didn’t really react when Margaux came home without her eyes, and were supportive as she adjusted to a life without sight — or sounds, as she went deaf right around the time of the eye removal.
Luckily for Margaux, she has two humans and three dogs who are happy to guide her, especially when the pack is exploring the great outdoors.
“We give her lots of exercise with the other dogs, who lead her on a leash,” Scott explains. “When they are working for her, they know they have a responsibility, and they work, but otherwise, they don’t treat her any differently, and candidly, nor do we.”
Her family may not be treating her any differently, but it’s clear sometimes Margaux does feel a little differently about the world around her. Without the senses she depended on for 12 years, even places she’s frequented — like her lifelong groomer’s shop — can seem unfamiliar and scary.
“She went by herself, and she was in a state of panic because she couldn’t smell her sisters,” Scott says. “So now we bring one of her sisters and they sit in the cage with her, and she’s content.”
Margaux’s new reality has forced Scott to rethink his own. The CEO says he’s slowing down, and making a point to put down his mobile device in the evenings. He took up photography in order to share Margaux’s inspiring story online and is showing the world that his blind, deaf, 12-year-old dog is still living a full life.
“It’s giving others a lot of hope, and people are rooting for Margaux,” he says.
Standard Poodles typically live to the age of 15, and Margaux’s family believes she will too. You only have to see her smile as she walks with her sisters to know that she is still loving life as part of a caring family.
“When she feels the sun and the wind, it’s amazing,” says Scott.