5. This thread is really hitting very close to home
My dog Cheyenne came to live with me when she was ten weeks old. Just a small cock-a-poo, I was amazed at her speed and agility immediately. One afternoon, I took her out to teach her to play ball. I started with simply throwing it, and she immediately chased after it, brought it back and looked at me as if to say, I know how to do this, throw it again. Soon she was jumping the fence. Although she appeared just too short to do so, she would run in large circles, gaining speed with each lap, and after the last lap, she sailed over the fence in a way that was simply beautiful to observe.
Fast forward ten years, and she is nearly blind. She has some distance sight left, but cannot see anything in front of her. It really shook the core of her self-confidence. But one day, she came walking out with the ball and dropped it at my feet. I was extremely surprised. But I picked it up and threw it. She went around the room, sniffing to find the ball. Eventually, she did and came back to continue the game. I learned to throw that ball, making it bounce. She listened and learned to head off immediately in the right direction. Eventually, I started rubbing the ball on her, so her smell could help her find the ball. Soon after that, she started running again. That was simply amazing. But I take her on walks in the exact same path, and she knows the lay of the land. She also knows if she has a pothole in front of her, I will yell the key word "hole, hole" and she adjusts her direction.
It is indeed so sad to see an animal disabled, but it is truly inspiring to observe them to learn to make adjustments that allow them to continue to lead a "normal" life. Those that do this serve as wonderful examples to us humans.