Smiley, the Blind Therapy Dog

Smiley, the blind golden retriever therapy dog : Joanne George/FacebookThis week there was a lot of unsettling news from the dog show world.  But stay tuned and I’ll bring you the uplifting story of one golden retriever called ‘Smiley’ who was born without eyes yet still manages to work as a therapy dog.

First,  there was the death of champion three-year-old Irish setter named Jagger at Crufts, the world’s biggest dog show hosted by the Kennel Club in the UK since 1891. The official autopsy showed that Thendara Satisfaction, known as Jagger, who won a silver medal at the contest, had digested steak laced with several types of poison leading to a painful death for the dog on its return to Belgium.

Dr. Claudia Minsen discovered miniscule black pellets similar to those used by farmers apparently ‘folded’ into pieces of beef in his stomach. Speculations is that it was some type of pesticide. It is also suspected that as many as six dogs who took part in the competition had been reportedly poisoned, though there are no definitive links as of yet.

Champion Irish setter Jagger died from suspected poisoning at Crufts

Champion Irish setter Jagger died from suspected poisoning at Crufts

There was also quite an uproar after American Rebecca Cross was filmed picking up her five-year-old Scottish terrier Knopa by the tail and neck after winning the prestigious Best in Show. Cross, a mother-of-one and military veteran from Maryland, apologized by saying she “didn’t do it on purpose, it was just habit”. This particular practice of picking up show dogs is common in the U.S. but is frowned upon elsewhere in the world.

So far more than 160,000 people had signed an online petition for the handler to be stripped of the award on the basis of ‘behaving discreditably and prejudicially to the interests of the canine world’. In response, The Kennel Club said it would not be ‘fair’ to strip the dog of its Best in Show title, solely due to the behavior of its owner.

The moment handler Rebecca Cross lifts Best In Show winner Knopa

Handler Rebecca Cross lifts Best In Show winner Knopa

But to instill your faith in humanity, please meet a special dog from Canada named Smiley.

Though completely blind, he is still able to work as a service dog for St. John’s Ambulance in Ontario. The dog’s owner, Joanne George, rescued him from a puppy mill in Stouffville, Canada when he was less than two years old. The dog quickly bonded with a Great Dane named Tyler who happened to be deaf.

“Tyler was so bouncy and crazy and happy go lucky and [Smiley] turned into the same dog,” George said. “He came out from underneath the tables where he was always hiding.”

George said seeing Smiley interact with crowds made her realize he would be a perfect therapy dog. She now brings the dogs to hospitals and schools in the area and says the dog almost always brightens people’s days.

You can read more about Smiley from and view many candids on the Alba Sun website.

Here are a few videos from Youtube, so enjoy.

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