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Smiley the Therapy Dog
Photo: Instagram/@smileytheblindtherapydog

This dog was born without eyes, but found his higher purpose as a therapy dog. Now, he is helping his new blind puppy brother find his purpose, too! 

It’s hard to be on Instagram and not know of Smiley the Blind Therapy Dog. This courageous Golden Retriever has taken social media by storm, having amassed over 115 thousand followers to date.

Smiley was born with no eyes. His adopted mom, Joanne George, rescued him from a puppy mill more than 10 years ago. She intended to find him a new home with someone else, but nobody was willing to adopt a dog with no eyes. After Joanne decided to give Smiley a forever home, she got to work helping him realize his purpose in life.

Despite this enormous obstacle, he managed to obtain his therapy certification through St. John Ambulance, and has spent the last 7 years as a therapy dog. Smiley’s miraculous feats don’t stop there; now he’s got a whole new mission – to train his newly adopted brother, Pal, who is also blind.

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Joanne George found Pal while browsing the internet one day. She saw a post about a pup in Turkey who, like Smiley, was a Golden Retriever born with no eyes. George instantly knew what she had to do.

She consulted with her husband, and says they both just knew in an instant that they were going to adopt Pal.

After the adoption was approved, 5-month old Pal was flown to Canada to be with his new family. He was shown a very warm welcome by his human parents, along with his new pup siblings, Smiley and Pippi (who is not blind).

Though Pal was probably relieved to finally have a home, some adjustment time was necessary. He was very thin upon arrival, and reacted fearfully and aggressively when approached by the dogs.

It must be terrifying to not be able to see anything, be put into an airplane, flown for hours, and then plopped down into a completely different country. Imagine all the new sounds and smells Pal must have been encountering. Any dog would be extremely frightened under those circumstances.

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Luckily, Smiley and Pippi were patient with Pal. After about a day, their new furry friend understood that he was safe, and he stopped reacting negatively. He must have come to realize pretty quickly what a great family he’d gotten!

Pal made rapid progress. He made adjustments in 6 weeks that it took Smiley about 6 months to make. Sadly, the pup soon showed signs that he was in pain, and was subsequently diagnosed with hypertrophic osteodystrophy (a bone disease).

But, the Georges didn’t let this discourage them. They put Pal on gentle treatments of hydrotherapy, chiropractic adjustments, and some medications. These treatments have been effective in easing Pal’s discomfort, and the Georges hope that with Smiley’s help, Pal will also become a therapy dog.

They aim to see him working in nursing homes and with children. With such a miraculous journey, it’s no wonder Pal has also exploded on social media. Currently, he has over 118 thousand followers on his Instagram account, and that number seems to grow by the day.

Both Pal and Smiley are incredibly lucky to have been adopted by such selfless and giving people like the George family. Because of their generosity and strength, Smiley and Pal can live big lives with big purpose, and inspire humans worldwide not to let obstacles or hindered abilities get in the way of living a full life by helping others.

Perhaps these pups were unlucky to be born without the gift of sight, but because of that they have received the lucky gift of a loving family who will help them make this world a better place, one inspiring tale at a time.

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Updated January 23rd, 2017: The original article has incorrectly called Smiley a service dog, which has now been corrected. Thanks to everyone who noticed the mistake.