The True Story: Guide Dog For a Blind Dog

We would like to thank Steph McLean for supplying us with this article. You can learn more about Steph towards the bottom of this page (she even supplied a video.) Hope you enjoy.

Proof that happily ever after can happen as a friendship is formed between a blind golden retriever named Tanner, and a timid street dog called Blair.

The dogs met at Woodland West Animal Hospital (WWAH) in Tulsa, Oklahoma where they were both taken in earlier this year. Both dogs experienced a tough start to life, and staff at WWAH admit to having considered putting the dogs down. All that changed however when the dogs met by chance in the hospital’s exercise yard…

Tanner is now 2 years old and not only has he been blind since birth, but he also suffers from epilepsy. When he was just 1 year old his owner died and he was left in the care of a local golden retriever rescue group.

They were able to find him a home, but this move caused his epilepsy and fits to worsen, and they became very difficult to control. So within a few months Tanner returned to the rescue group where he continued to suffer from fits, almost daily. They eventually became so violent that he was taken to WWAH.

Tanner seemed to be in so much distress that the vets considered having him put down.

At a similar time, Blair, a 1 year old black mix golden retriever had been shot while living on the streets and was also brought into WWAH for treatment. He was saved, but the experience left him very introverted, timid and depressed.

They first met each other in the hospital yard during an exercise break and formed an immediate friendship.

“One day [Blair and Tanner] were exercising in a play yard together… Blair all of a sudden seemed to realize that Tanner was blind and just started to help him around’ says Woodland West Director Dr. Mike Jones.

This was a huge shock to the staff at the hospital. They had only ever seen the dogs looking depressed, and now they were running around and playing together.

Once they had formed their friendship, a miraculous change occurred in the behaviour of both dogs. After a few weeks, Tanner no longer suffered any violent fits from his epilepsy, and Blair became significantly more friendly and trusting.

Staff also found that if they place a lead on Tanner, Blair will pick it up and will guide him around the yard.

Dogs are well known for their loyalty, and are nicknamed ‘man’s best friend’. Golden retrievers are known as being particularly loyal and easy to train, and for these reasons have been used as guide dogs for many years. This is however the first recorded case of a dog acting as a guide to another dog. And the most remarkable part – without any training, influence or guidance.

They continue to live at WWAH for the time being while they remain in rehabilitation. But once they are back to full health, vets are advising that they will need to stay together – so any potential owners will need to take care of both of the dogs, and keep them together.

Take a look at this video to see the young dogs in action.

Attached Images:

Steph McLean is an animal lover, and enjoys writing about interesting animal stories. She works at

Here is the link if you want to watch it on youtube

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