“Smiley” Dog Born Without Eyes Serves as Beacon for Disabled

Rescued from a puppy mill, “Smiley,” a dog born without eyes, is living up to his name, inspiring others with his sweet disposition after overcoming a heartbreaking past. Rescued ten years ago by Ontario dog trainer Joanne George when he was around two-years-old, it wasn’t all smiles in the beginning. The untrained dog was destructive and fearful, even cowering 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,” George wrote on her dog training website. She said the golden retriever changed her way of training. He did not know one verbal command so she needed to communicate through her energy and love.

Smiley’s best teacher was the family’s partially deaf Great Dane,Tyler, whose happiness was infectious. “Life was grand to Tyler and soon enough that rubbed off on Smiley,” said George. Eventually she noticed how well  he interacted with groups of people and realized his destiny was therapy. Smiley now warms hearts as a service dog in Stouffville area hospitals and nursing homes.

After the dog’s regular visits with a man named Teddy, who never spoke at all and never communicated, eventually a smile broke out across his face. The staff was amazed, she told ABC news, because they’d never seen Teddy smile before. Patients aren’t the only ones Smiley has touched. He made his mark at home. “He went on my first date, and was the ring bearer at my wedding,” George told CBS News. “He changed my life.”

“The message is, it doesn’t matter where or how a dog starts his life – he is able to overcome and become a stable, happy dog,” she wrote on her website, trainingthek9way.com. “For dogs do not dwell in the past – they only live in the moment.”