This post was most recently updated on June 29th, 2018
Guide dogs spend the majority of their benevolent lives devoting themselves to assisting the blind in getting around and interacting safely with the dangers inherent in a modern urban society. But what happens when it is the guide dog that loses its sight? Do blind guide dogs get guide dogs in turn to help them out?
It turns out that they do, at least in one particular instance. Graham Waspe, 60, enjoyed the company and capabilities of his trusty guide dog, Edward, for all of eight years. That’s about 56 in dog years, so Edward’s been plodding away into the latter part of middle age. However, poor Edward began to suffer from cataracts, which impaired his vision and became so damaging that his eyes had to be surgically removed.
Now, a dog’s eyesight, unlike our own, is hardly its sharpest sense, and one might say that Edward didn’t lose too much from the removal of his eyes. Nonetheless, it still counts as a crippling disability, one that guaranteed Edward would lose his day job. Of course, Mr. Waspe wasn’t about to just toss his faithful companion by the wayside. Like many guide dogs who could no longer function as such, Edward would assume the status of a retired guide dog, and continue living with his master as a beloved pet.
Waspe, however, seems to have taken his care for Edward one step further, by providing his now blind friend with his own guide dog, young Opal. Aside from taking over for Edward’s typical guide dog duties, Opal apparently also assists Edward with getting around as well, pulling what may amount to a double shift to make sure that both of her blind companions do not injure themselves when they step out into the world.
How has this affected Edward? Well, it looks like he and Opal have been getting along just fine, no animosity between dogs, let alone jealousy on the part of Edward that his duties have been usurped. Curiously, Waspe’s wife, Sandra, 58, has noted that Edward is basking in greater popularity now that his condition has people interested in how he copes. Sure, Edward can’t muster more than a few barks and howls, but if he could, he’d probably have a few words to say about availing of the same service that he used to provide, not so long ago.