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Blind Dog’s Great Choice: A Shelter Dog as Guide Dog

Dogs just aren't supposed to go blind when they're only 3 years old, especially when they're as healthy and energetic as Shelly, a black Lab...

Maria Goodavage  |  Nov 3rd 2011


Dogs just aren’t supposed to go blind when they’re only 3 years old, especially when they’re as healthy and energetic as Shelly, a black Lab from Memphis, Tenn. But that was Shelly’s fate, which at first was devastating for her owners, Gail and Charles Silverstein.

But rather than mourn her progressive loss of sight, the Silversteins headed to a local shelter and, with the guidance of a dog trainer, let Shelly help select the dog who might become her guide dog. She immediately took to a 2-year-old Lab mix named Tommy.

Good choice, Shelly! As soon as they got home, Tommy lay down next to her and started licking Shelly’s eyes. “It was like he knew she was going blind and I guess he was trying to heal her,” Gail Silverstein told MyFox Memphis. (She had a disease of the retinas. Who knows what Tommy detected with his super-sensitive nose?)

It’s more than a year later, and Shelly is completely blind. But not really. Tommy is her eyes. She trusts him implicitly. “It’s like they communicate with each other. He just kinda leans towards her and puts his head near and (she) just follows him.”

The Silversteins think that this is a sort of eye-for-an-eye deal. Shelly saved Tommy’s life by choosing him from the pound, and Tommy is more than happy to be a most essential part of the life of the dog who chose him from all the others.

Aww, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again: Dogs are amazing. I’m glad I could find an uplifting story like this one for my first day back on the job after my leave of absence! (I had to sift through a lot of bad-news dog stories to find it. :()


Blind Dog Gets New Leash on Life: MyFoxMEMPHIS.com