Losing one of your senses is tough, and Tao the Golden Retriever knows that all too well. For almost 11 years, he had perfect eyesight and a perfect life. But as he entered his senior years, he faced glaucoma, which eventually took his sight away completely.
Tao slowly learned to move around without his sight, but his humans wanted to make the transition as comfortable for him as possible. So, they got him his very own seeing eye puppy named Oko. Now, the two Golden Retriever brothers are the best of friends!
Transitioning to a New Life
Melanie Jackson, Tao and Oko’s mom, said that Tao’s loss of sight happened so suddenly. On the day it happened, he was fine in the morning, but later, he continuously shook his head as if he was in pain. Only five hours after that, he was at the vet, where they determined he was blind. One of his eyes was removed that day too.
Even though the vets said that euthanasia was an option, Jackson refused to go down that path. If Tao could be safe, happy, and healthy without sight, then his family would do anything to make that happen. The extra cost and effort didn’t matter to Jackson because Tao is a part of her family.
Tao kept his second eye for a few weeks after that. Jackson controlled the eye pressure by giving him frequent eye drops. During that time, she prepared him for life without sight. She taught him to move around on his own without having to rely on seeing. So, by the time his second eye was removed, he was already a pro at getting around by himself.
But even professionals need help at times. Jackson didn’t want Tao to have to struggle at all, which is why she decided to get Oko. Oko would provide companionship for Tao and help protect him on a daily basis.
Oko Helps His Brother
As soon as Oko moved in with his new family, he fell in love with Tao. The pup follows his big brother everywhere and even leads him around on a leash when needed. Plus, Tao seems happier than ever with his baby brother by his side.
“We were pleasantly surprised when Tao began walking up and down the stairs just three days after his operation,” said Jackson. “But I just felt like he needed a buddy to help him and play with him now that he can no longer see.”
And Jackson was right. Having Oko around really lifted Tao’s spirits and helped him feel safer. They love to run around in fields together and even take naps beside each other. The bond they share is extremely adorable. Now, Oko is about 16 weeks old, so he learns to be a better guide dog for his brother every day.
In fact, Tao and Oko even have their own Instagram where Jackson posts lots of adorable photos and videos. Follow them to see what they’re up to!