If you keep up with the who’s who among social media’s most famous celebri-dogs, then you’ve surely heard of Smiley. But this sweet Golden Retriever is far more than just a pretty face!
Despite having been born without eyes, Smiley obtained SJA Certification and has been a therapy dog for 7 years. Now Smiley has a new challenge – helping to train his blind adopted brother, Pal.
Joanne George rescued Smiley from a puppy mill situation more than a decade ago. She tried re-homing him, but no one wanted to take on a dog with his special needs. Once she decided to keep him, she devoted herself to helping Smiley achieve all he could.
Now that Smiley has become an internet sensation with more than 114,000 Instagram followers, George has decided to take on a new pooch in need. She was online this fall when she came across a post about a dog in Turkey who had been born blind like Smiley. George immediately had a feeling about the young Golden Retriever. She told Dogster:
“My husband looked at me — I was beside him on the couch — and I was in tears because I just instantly knew that dog was going to come here and he would be ours.”
Their adoption application was approved and the George family welcomed the 5-month-old pup with open arms and open paws. Besides Smiley, the Georges also have a Border Collie named Pippi who is not blind.
The vulnerable pup could not have found a more perfect home, but Pal was still in “survival mode” when he arrived. He was extremely thin and reacted with fear and aggression when the other dogs approached him.
“He was just like a bear,” George told Dogster. “Thank goodness Pippi and Smiley are very tolerant, understanding, and quiet. It only took him about a day to realize these dogs were never going to hurt him, and he stopped reacting.”
After just 6 weeks, Pal had made progress that had taken Smiley 6 months to make. Unfortunately, the already stricken pup suddenly began showing signs of pain and was diagnosed with a bone disease called hypertrophic osteodystrophy.
The George family took the news in stride and started Pal on a regimen of hydrotherapy, chiropractic treatment and medications. The treatments have helped to ease Pal’s symptoms and George is confident that with Smiley by his side, he, too, has a future bringing joy to nursing home residents and helping children learn to read as a therapy dog.
H/T to Dogster
Featured Image via Instagram/The Golden Life of Pal
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