Two Oklahoma dogs looking for a home are making headlines for the strong and healing friendship they have forged.
In 2010, Golden Retriever Tanner ended up without a home when his owner tragically passed away. Blind since his birth, suffering from frequent epileptic seizures, and alone, it seemed like poor Tanner would never get the happy ending he deserved.
Pulled from an animal shelter by the Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue, Tanner’s epilepsy proved to be more difficult to treat than the group was prepared for. No foster home could handle Tanner’s frenzied seizures.
Knowing that the Golden Retriever would need round-the-clock care from someone experienced with epileptic dogs, the rescue left Tanner in the care of Dr. Mike Jones at Tulsa’s Woodland West Animal Hospital.
“[Tanner’s] seizure disorder was really, really bad and nothing – no medications – seemed to be helping,” Jones explains.
Meanwhile, another Woodland West resident, a black Labrador Retriever named Blair, was recovering from a gunshot. Though her physical wounds had healed, her emotional ones left her in a constant state of nervous fear and worry.
It wasn’t until the two dogs met that things started looking up for Tanner and Blair.
“One day they were exercising in a play yard together and they got together,” Jones says of Tanner and Blair. During their first meeting, Blair took Tanner’s leash in her mouth and led him around the pen. “Blair all of a sudden seemed to realize that Tanner was blind and just started to help him around,” Jones says.
It was clear that the dogs had bonded right from the start. Blair and Tanner now visit the play yard together every day, Blair leading Tanner on his leash.
The friendship has changed both Blair’s and Tanner’s lives for the better, each providing a sense of comfort for the other.
Blair, once a shy and timid PTSD victim, is now calmer and less apprehensive around others. And Tanner, once so incapacitated by seizures that left him completely panic-stricken, has improved by leaps and bounds. “After two or three weeks, we realized Tanner wasn’t seizing anymore,” says Dr. Jones. “He’s not completely seizure free, but it’s not constant anymore.”
The pair, once without home or hope, is now inseparable. Because of the connection between the two, Dr. Jones is hoping that Blair and Tanner will be able to find a forever home together.
“We’ve worked with a lot of different service dogs to provide these services for people,” Jones explains, “but this is the first time I’ve seen anything like this, the special relationship these dogs have.”