Blind golden retriever who’s mistaken for guide dog now needs a ‘guide human’

Guide dogs are often golden retriever breeds due to their great qualities, they are loyal, caring and are easy to train.

But this dog who is often mistaken for a guide dog, needs a "guide human" himself after losing his eyesight.

Tao lost both his eyes to glaucoma and after suffering from excruciating pain, he had to have his first eye removed last year.

The vet revealed he had glaucoma, and warned that Tao may eventually have to be put down.

But Tao's surgery was successful and they were able to removed the eye.

For 11 months, Tao's owner Mel Jackson, from Shepton Mallet in Somerset, gave him eye drops but his eyesight was not getting better and so she train began to train him to prepare him for the day he went completely blind.

Thanks to the training and Tao's own perseverance, after his second eye was removed a year ago he coped well.

53-year-old Mel says: "If you can imagine a migraine and times it by a hundred – that was the pain he was in.

"It began in February 2019 – we had a normal morning. Everything was absolutely fine.

"But you just know when the dog is not his normal self.

"By the night, he was in the most pain I have ever seen so we took him to the vets.

"We didn’t have any other choice but to have the eye removed.

"Then, after a thorough examination, I was made aware that he had it in his second eye.

‘So we monitored it every day, but then he started going in and out of blindness. It wasn’t fair.

"The word [I would use to describe Tao] would be confused. He was in a lot of pain."

Vets had to removed Tao's second eye in January this year – by this time he was already trained.

"He is amazing. He’s so well trained – he listens to every command." says Mel.

"He can go off-lead and waits if you are by a road. If people are coming he gets close to me and if there’s other dogs off their lead he will be aware of that.

"He does everything that we have always done.

"But because he’s a golden retriever and wears a sleeve on his lead saying ‘Blind K9’ people assume I must be the one that’s blind.

"They say: ‘He must be good for you’. I say: ‘No, I’m his guide human!’."

Mel is now trying to raise awareness about glaucoma in dogs, she has also done everything she can to make life easier for Tao.

Including placing sensory and textured mats around the house.

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