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While working as a veterinary technician, Joanne George heard about a puppy mill not far from the clinic and embarked on a rescue mission with her co-workers. On that special day, Joanne met Smiley for the first time. He had been born without eyes and with dwarfism and because of his time in the puppy mill, Smiley was suffering from serious anxiety. While the other dogs rescued that day were found loving homes, Smiley was going to need some extra special care. Nothing happens without practice and patience and Joanne and Smiley learned both those traits together. Gradually Smiley was able to walk off-leash and started greeting Joanne at the back door. She gave Smiley a loving home and he taught her patience, understanding and acceptance. It soon became evident that Smiley would become a wonderful therapy dog.
|Publisher:||Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||8.13(w) x 10.19(h) x 0.38(d)|
|Age Range:||9 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Joanne George is a dog trainer and former veterinary technician who makes her home north of Toronto, Ontario. She and Smiley visit nursing homes, libraries, children's programs and schools as part of a therapy dog program with St. John's Ambulance.
Read an Excerpt
“Smiley relies on his keen sense of hearing to not only know what is happening around him but also to know exactly where things are. Joanne describes it as “sonar” or “echo-location.” She thinks he must be able to hear himself walking because if he passes a large object such as a parked car, he suddenly turns toward it. The sound must change as he gets close, alerting Smiley to possible danger.
It is easy to forget that Smiley cannot see. These days he goes about life just as any other dog might. He walks with his head held high when he and Joanne are out for a leash walk around town. He moves at the same pace as Joanne’s other dogs, two Border Collies named Pearl and Pippi. They usually get stopped several times and someone will always ask, “What’s wrong with his eyes?” Joanne’s reply is that he doesn’t have any. She says the person will continue looking at him and, 9 times out of 10, comes back with the same response: “Well, how does he see then?” She tells them, “He doesn’t.” It’s hard for people to understand how this blind dog can be out marching along Main Street amid all the noise and commotion.”