Just because he was born with no eyes doesn't mean Smiley can't bring his trademark good nature to comfort those in need. Smiley, a golden retriever, originally started life in a puppy mill, but with his deformity, he didn't have a long life ahead of him. However, he and the rest of his mill family were rescued from the terrible living conditions, but still there wasn't much hope for a puppy with no eyes.
Flash forward a few years and old Smiley is still around. He's grown up and into one of the most beloved therapy dogs in the hospitals and nursing homes of his hometown in Stouffville, Canada. Unfortunately, Smiley wasn't always as happy-go-lucky as he is today, from an early age all he knew was neglect and abuse, so he was not quick to trust people. His current owner, Joanne, recalls his early behavior:
“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. Like many of the mill puppies, Smiley was extremely destructive and had zero housetraining. He was nervous and had many anxieties about coming into a home.”
It was only thanks to a deaf Great Dane named Tyler that Smiley turned into the dog he is today. “Tyler was so bouncy and crazy and happy go lucky and Smiley turned into the same dog. He came out from underneath the tables where he was always hiding," says Joanne.
Today, Tyler the Great Dane has passed on, but Smiley still helps him live on with his disposition. Even with no eyes, he never lets his disability get him down, using sound and smell to navigate. Joanne believes this, as well as his loving personality, are why he gets along so well with some of the more difficult patients that are in desperate need of companionship, but feel as though many people can't understand.