Humans aren’t the only animals to benefit from guide dogs, as it seems dogs can guide other dogs too – which shouldn’t come as a surprise really.
When Amos, a staffie cross, was born blind, volunteers at an animal shelter in Cheshire worried he might not find a suitable home.
However, 27-year-old Jess Martin, who works for Cheshire Fire and Rescue and volunteers for the shelter in her spare time, quickly fell in love with Amos and decided to adopt him herself.
The only problem was she already had a dog, a nine-year-old border terrier called Toby, and she was worried how he might react to his newly adopted brother.
Jess didn’t need to worry though, as the two dogs quickly became best mates, with Toby welcoming Amos and even helping him around the house and while out walking.
Toby has now become Amos’ unofficial guide dog, leading him on walks and helping find his food and drink bowls at home.
As Jess said:
Toby was the best present I ever got. He is very independent, and he likes his own space so we were a bit concerned to see how accepting he would be of Amos.
I thought it would be very difficult to find an owner and while Amos was on medical care for four months, we decided to foster him in February last year, but after a while we realised we would never give him back.
You can watch Toby guiding Amos around here:
At the beginning Toby growled at him a few times and then ignored him – Amos came from a kennel so doesn’t know how to socialise with other dogs.
After a couple of days, I saw that Amos couldn’t find his water bowl and Toby nudged him and helped him out.
Sadly, Amos had to have an operation to have his eyes removed, but thanks to Toby he can still enjoy going out on adventures and walking together, with Toby giving him a helpful nudge if he ever needs assistance.
As Jess said:
When we went out on walks Amos was very scared, especially of the noises and Toby quickly picked up that he needed help – so every time Amos was stopping, Toby would go and lie next to him till he would be ready.
They have developed a nice communication between them, and they know each other’s boundaries.
Toby is always there to protect him – we call him his “bodyguard”.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.