How Blind Dogs Play “Fetch”

Chica and Jack are expert fetchers, just like all dogs. But they rely on other senses besides sight.


Yes, it’s an amazing video. A Border Collie is running around a farm in Terre Haute, Indiana, fetching and herding a ball back to her owner, looking exactly like a Border Collie fetching a ball should look — intense, precise, immensely happy with the whole endeavor and hoping to do it for the next 93 hours.

Only, Chica is blind. And not only blind, she had her eyes removed when she was a puppy — there’s no shadows leaking through, no fuzzy shapes, just blackness. But that doesn’t stop her from finding that ball, even slipping under fences and stopping abruptly before parked cars to do so.

“I don’t understand it at all. She runs every place she goes,” Chica’s owner Martha Knox says in the video. “It’s almost like she has radar.”

We’re impressed, to be sure, but not exactly surprised. It’s just been two months since our minds were first busted wide open in the blind-dog-fetching category, thanks to Jack the Labrador of Potters Green, England. He fetches object as well — by swimming to them.

Jack lost his sight three years ago, but his owner, Margaret Simpson, instantly knew she had a special dog: “When we got him, he was losing his sight, and we taught him how to stop, look left and right. When we were out walking, wherever there was water, he could sense it.”

“Then he started going into ponds and canals using only his smell, putting his head underwater and bringing back big rocks,” she told the Daily Mail. “We started throwing in a dummy, which was better for his teeth, and he just dived in. That’s when we realized how talented he was.”

His country took notice. In September, Jack was named Pet Champion in the water sports category of the UK Spot On awards.

Our congratulations go out to Jack and Chica for not letting blindness get in the way of a dog’s right to a great game of fetch.

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