Blind golden retriever’s budding relationship with his guide dog

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Tao and Oko (Photo: Instagram)
Tao and Oko (Photo: Instagram)

When 11-year-old Tao lost his sight, his owner decided to get him a puppy. The result? An adorable duo the internet can’t get enough of.

In 2019 Tao, a golden retriever, was diagnosed with glaucoma, a condition usually caused by abnormally high pressure in the eye, which damages the optic nerve.  

“It all happened so fast,” says his owner Melanie Jackson from the UK. “He was fine in the morning but by the evening he was shaking his head, which suggested he was in pain. Five hours later, he was blind and his eye had to be removed.”

Vets told Melanie that Tao’s second eye would also have to be removed at a later stage.

“We were able to control the pressure for a while by applying eye drops,” she explains.

To prepare her pet for the complete loss of his vision, Melanie taught him new commands.

In January this year, 11 months after having his first eye removed, Tao’s second eye had to be taken out because the glaucoma had worsened.

“We were pleasantly surprised when Tao began walking up and down the stairs just three days after his operation.”

Eight weeks after his operation, Melanie was inspired by Tao’s speedy recovery and adaptability. “He has given me a new appreciation of blindness,” she says. “When people meet him they don't always realise he's blind.”

But she still felt like something was missing and that’s when she decided to get her pooch a pup.

“I just felt like he needed a buddy to help him and play with him now that he could no longer see,” she says.

At eight weeks old, Oko, also a golden retriever, was welcomed into the family and hit it off with Tao immediately.

Oko is now 16 weeks old and the pair are inseparable. “Tao follows him around the fields and they sleep with each other,” Melanie says proudly.

The puppy has helped Tao adapt to the changes in his life and now also serves as his guide dog. “We are in the process of training Tao to follow Oko so he doesn't get in the way of any danger,” Melanie adds.

Oko and Tao also have an Instagram page where Melanie shares their adventures. The account has  more than 40 000 followers.

Check out adorable snaps from the duo’s heart-warming friendship below.

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