Blind Golden Retriever puppy steals hearts

When Andrew Fales got word that a nearby breeder was going to euthanize an otherwise healthy Golden Retriever puppy from a recent litter just because the pup is blind, Fales knew he had to do something.

Ray Charles was going to be euthanized, but Andrew Fales saved the animal by adopting him.

“Once we found that out, there was no way we could let that happen,” Fales tells My FOX Boston.

The Boston resident had always loved Golden Retrievers — in fact, he already had three of his own. But Fales couldn’t resist getting the chance to give this special pup a new home. After contacting the breeder, Fales gladly added a fourth dog to his pack of Goldens — a pup he’d decided to name Ray Charles, after the blind and immensely talented musician who’d overcome countless obstacles on his road to success.

A visit to a veterinarian revealed that though his eyes function normally, a faulty connection between Ray’s eyes and brain that prevents him from seeing.

Even though the four-legged Ray is blind, he has managed to adapt very well to his new home. He enjoys snuggling on the couch, playing with his fluffy siblings, and has become his loving owner’s shadow.

“He definitely knows my scent,” Fales says of Ray. “When I come home he’ll run to the door and follow me around. He’s very loyal.”

Still Fales says he has had to take a few precautions to help Ray get around easier.

“You have to make sure the pathways are clear so he doesn’t bump into things and make sure the doors are shut going down the stairs,” he explains.

Fales decided to take to the web and share Ray Charles’ story, but he never could have imagined how popular his new pup would become.

At 6-months-old, the insanely photogenic Ray now has a passionate following of fans on the Internet. In fact, his Facebook page — which includes hundreds of photographs of the sweet-faced puppy dressed in pajamas, donning sunglasses and showing off his Boston Bruins fan gear — has earned more than 65,000 “likes” to date.

According to his Facebook page, Fales’s and Ray’s mission is to encourage others.

“I believe I was born the way I was so that I could help inspire others who are born with physical/mental disabilities to always live their lives to the fullest and do as much as they can with what they are given,” the page reads.

Ray has also been named “the cutest dog on the Internet” and won an April photo contest for Modern Dog Magazine. Fales says it seems the whole world is enamored with Ray Charles.

“At the time I didn’t think anything of it,” Fales tells TODAY.com. “I never in a million years would’ve thought it would take off from there.”

In fact, Ray’s Internet fans are so enamored with the adorable Golden Retriever they hope a petition will inspire the Boston Bruins to invite the puppy to drop the puck at a home game.

“Ray Charles may not have his sight,” the petition reads. “But we can still show him how much he means to all of us! Help Ray Charles drop the puck at a Boston Bruins game and keep helping to enrich the wonderful dog’s life!”

As of Wednesday, the petition is over 8,800 signatures strong, with more Ray fans adding their John Hancocks daily. As the playoffs continue and with Boston up 2-0 versus the Penguins, Ray still has a shot at making an upcoming Bruins game the most adorable hockey game in history.

Sources: TODAY.com, Yahoo! Sports, Modern Dog Magazine, My FOX Boston