Friday, March 13, 2015

Smiley, The Blind Therapy Dog

Smiley is in the news a lot right now. I've found dozens of articles about him without even looking.

The beginning of his story is a sad one. As the product of a puppy mill, he was practically guaranteed to have health problems, And he did. Not only was he born without eyes, but his physical proportions were wrong. His chances of survival were pretty slim.
He, along with 10 other puppies, was rescued in 2004 by Joanne George, who was a veterinary technician at the time, and is now a professional dog trainer near Toronto.
Joanne George and Friends
This is what she has to say about him on her website:
 "Smiley came to me in 2004 - he was about  1 or 2 years of age and had been born without eyes.   He had lived his life in the puppy mill where he had been born.   He was extremely destructive and had zero housetraining.  He was nervous and had many anxieties about coming into a home.  He cowered at the sound of another dog eating - the scars on his face and ears told me the stories of what it was like living with so many dogs in such deplorable conditions.  
Smiley was the one who changed my way of training.  He did not know one verbal command - I communicated only through my energy to him.  He did not see my body language - he used his nose and his keen sense of hearing to get around.  His best teacher was Tyler - a young, boisterous partially deaf Great Dane.  Life was grand to Tyler - and soon enough that rubbed onto Smiley.  Whatever energy you give off ... your dog picks up on it.  
Smiley now accompanies me to clients homes to assist in certain cases.   He is certainly inspirational to everyone he meets including Cesar Millan - Smiley joined Cesar onstage at 3 of his live performances.  He continues to tell Smiley's story at all of his shows across the world - and the message is "it doesn't matter where,  or how a dog starts off his life - he is able to overcome and become a stable, happy dog" ... for dogs do not dwell on the past - they only live in this moment.  

Smiley is now a certified therapy dog. He works mainly with children, especially those who have disabilities of their own
Image result for therapy dog smiley and children
Helping a child to read
I feel inspired just by reading about her, Smiley, and the many children she has helped with her volunteer work.