Saturday, May 05, 2012

Blind, epileptic Golden Retriever gets own guide dog

It was a rough life for Tanner, a blind Golden Retriever suffering from epilepsy — until he found a four-legged friend to be his eyes. Blair, a 1-year-old Black Labrador with a troubled past, grabs hold of Tanner’s leash and leads him around the Tulsa, Okla. animal hospital they call home, staff said. “They go out every time,” said Karen Miller, Woodland West Animal Hospital’s practice manager.

“It’s amazing to see them together.” Tanner was born blind 2-1/2 years ago and had a home until his owner died in 2010. He bounced around between a foster family and the Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue, which currently owns him. The rescue group placed him at the animal hospital last December to care for his seizures, which cause him to be incontinent and “go into a biting frenzy,” Miller said.

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It wasn’t until he met Blair, who arrived at the hospital after being found homeless and shot, that staff noticed a change. “One day [Blair and Tanner] were exercising in a play yard together,” Woodland West vet Dr. Mike Jones said. “Blair all of a sudden seemed to realize that Tanner was blind and just started to help him around.” Since meeting, Tanner’s seizures have become less frequent, while Blair has become less anxious, hospital staff said.

“We’ve worked with a lot of different service dogs to provide these services for people,” Jones said. “But it’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this, the special relationship these two dogs have.” Officials are hoping someone will adopt the pair together. It would be a heartwarming ending for a pair that faced being euthanized, said Pamela Denny, vice-president of Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue. “I’m sure we will be able to place them,” Denny said. “It’s about finding the right home to love them.”

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