Smiley’s story

Ethan Brown, Staff Writer

Who doesn’t love a good dog story?  With so much negativity in the news today, it’s always nice coming across an uplifting story of any kind, especially when the dog is the star.

Smiley is a 12-year-old golden retriever who has had a tough upbringing.  Born with a dwarfism, Smiley had surgery when he was two to remove both of his eyes.  Afterwards, he was left in a puppy mill with little chance of survival.

Joanne George, Smiley’s current owner, found him a decade ago at the mill and rescued him.

“People were so drawn to him, so inspired by him,” said George to CBS News. “I realized this dog has to be a therapy dog – I have to share him.”

And so she did. Smiley later became a certified therapy dog and joined the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program in Ontario, Canada.  Every day, Smiley visits elderly patients in nursing homes, children with special needs and others in need of some comfort.

One of the nursing home patients, named Teddy, was visited by Smiley frequently.  Teddy did not have speech and was unable to communicate in any way.  However, a visit from Smiley changed it all.

“One day, Smiley put his feet up in front of [Teddy] and he started smiling and making noise.  All of the nurses rushed into the room and said they’d never seen him smile – never seen any kind of reaction,” said George.

Now at age 12, George realizes that Smiley’s time may be coming to an end.  While she has memories of Smiley accompanying her on her first date, being the ring bearer at her wedding and being there for her when she had a baby, George said, “He’s changed my life.

People will say that Smiley is just a dog, and this is true.  But dogs know their surroundings.  They know when people love them.  They know when they help others.  Their unconditional love and support is unlike anything else.

To me, Smiley exemplifies all the qualities a human should have (this may sound odd, but just keep reading).  After being left for dead and later blind, Smiley still finds a way to make people happy, specifically sick people who need an uplifting moment, even if it comes in the form of a wagging tail and slobbery kiss.

We should all be thankful that Smiley has been introduced into the world, because that still young puppy looking face in the pictures definitely made you smile.