A Golden Retriever puppy, incredibly chipper despite being blind, proved so inspirational that his owner realised he needed to be a therapy dog.
The Independent reports that Joanne George saved Smiley, who was born with dwarfism and without eyes, from a life of neglect and certain death on a puppy farm at the age of two, but despite his disability and difficult past he is flourishing.
“People were so drawn to him, so inspired by him.” George told CBS News. “I realized this dog has to be a therapy dog, I have to share him.”
Once Smiley had recovered he was trained and became a certified therapy dog, now spending his days visiting patients at retirement homes and joining special needs kids for library reading sessions in Canada. Living up to his name, Smiley teaches people that their disability does not define them nor what happened to them as a child.
“Dogs can come back from anything, they forget their past,” George added. “We as humans, dwell on the past.”
The 12-year-old Retriever has also helped one man at a nursing home who had never spoken or communicated in any way. “One day, Smiley put his feet up in front of (Teddy) and he started smiling and making noise,” George said. “All of the nurses rushed into the room and said they’ve never seen him smile, never seen any kind of reaction.”
He now greets Teddy first whenever he visits the home, with George noting that “that’s when I realized how truly inspiring he can be.” His career isn’t limited to therapy though. “He came on my first date with me. He was my ring bearer at my wedding,” George recalled. “He’s changed my life.”
(Story source: The Independent – February 2017)