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Sense of Sight

Jack loves to retrieve in the water even though he is blind. (c)Caters News Agency

Ten-year-old Labrador Retriever Jack began to lose his eyesight when he was six. He developed the genetic disease known as Progressive Retinal Atrophy and loss his sight within a year. Before he completely lost his sight, Jack was adopted by owner Margaret Simpson. "When we got him, he was losing his sight and we taught him how to stop, look left and right, and when we were out walking, wherever there was water, he could sense it," Simpson, a native of Coventry, England, explains. "Then he started going into ponds and canals using only his smell, putting his head underwater and bringing back big rocks." It was then that they knew just how talented the Lab was.

Simpson and her husband Keith began throwing a soft "dummy" toy into the water for Jack to retrieve and that's just what he did. Labs are known for their fetching abilities which is one of the qualities that makes them the most popular breed for the past 21 years according to the American Kennel Club.

The Simpsons began to work with Jack in the water and decided to enter him in the UK Spot On Pet Competition. Jack was evaluated in four categories – ball skills, agility, water sports, and mind games. Afterwards, Jack was named the competition's Pet Champion. He also won about $325 in prize money. "Jack really is the happiest dog we've ever had," says his owner. "Despite all that has happened to him, he doesn't let any of it hold him back." Simpson says that she'll use his prize to treat Jack to a new collar — and a new toy to fetch.