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Blind epileptic dog and shy stray heal through friendship

Custom_sam_sheepdog_300_thumb By Martha | | Comments (0)

Tanner is blind and has epilepsy but is being helped by his new canine friend

A Golden Retriever with serious health conditions has a new lease on life due to chance encounter with a stray rescue dog. Both dogs' lives turned around after meeting one another.

Two-year-old Tanner was born blind and has a seizure disorder that affected his quality of life. After his owner died, he was sent to Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue in Tulsa, Oklahoma for care. Blair is a one-year-old Labrador Retriever who lived on the streets before she was found shot and taken to Woodland West Animal Hospital for treatment. She was timid and nervous around people as result.

Blair helps tannerFor Tanner, the stress of his loss made his seizures worse. "His seizure disorder was really, really bad and nothing - no medications - seemed to be helping," Mike Jones, director of Woodland West Animal Hospital, told ABC News. "Anytime he [Tanner] seizes he expresses his bowels. It's a nightmare anytime you have a 90-lb dog experiencing this nightly; it made living in a home very, very difficult." Jones admits he even recommended putting Tanner down, to relieve Tanner and his foster caregivers of their misery.

Both dogs were coping with their conditions separately, until a few months ago when the two were placed together in a chance encounter at the clinic where they were staying. When the two met, it was instant friendship. "One day they were exercising in a play yard together and they got together,' said Jones. 

Blair now helps guide her blind friend around. "Blair all of a sudden seemed to realize that Tanner was blind and just started to help him around," said Jones. The black labrador guides her pal around the enclosure and buildings, picking up his leash in her mouth when necessary to steer him to safety and play. In return, Tanner has helped the black Lab be less afraid and more friendly with people.

Blair leading Tanner around

The change in the two dogs is miraculous. Since having Blair as a companion, Tanner has had a tremendous decline in his seizures. Tanner had been seizing almost nightly, Jones said. "After two or three weeks, we realized Tanner wasn't seizing anymore.  He's not completely seizure free but it's not constant anymore."

As for Blair, she has become more confident and outgoing. The friendship seems to have had a strong healing effect on both animals.

The two are now inseparable. "We've worked with a lot of different service dogs to provide these services for people but it's the first time I've seen anything like this, the special relationship these two dogs have," said Jones. 

Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue is now looking for an adoptive family for the pair, and for someone who fully understands the long-term responsibility of taking care of Tanner's seizure disorder. 


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