Golden Retriever Smiley was born in a puppy mill with a condition linked to dwarfism—he has no eyes as well as physical disproportions, including oversize teeth and a smaller stature. When he was found in 2004, it was recommended he be euthanized. Instead, Joanne George, a veterinary technician at the time, took him home and had his eyes sewn shut to prevent infection. Along with Smiley, she rescued 10 other pups, which all found new families quickly. Due to his condition, Smiley had difficulty getting adopted, so Joanne kept him.

Today, Smiley, 12, works as a certified therapy dog for St. John’s Ambulance, and most of his work is with children. Smiley attends funerals and visitations to sit with grieving children, and visits the local library in York Region, Ontario, to be with autistic children who have difficulty reading. He also visits classrooms with special needs students.
Smiley is a happy dog, and spreads joy and comfort everywhere he goes. He teaches us that dogs don’t dwell on the past, and dogs with disabilities can adapt and be wonderful pets—they can change your life and the lives of people around you.