Canine companions: Blinded seeing eye dog gets a seeing eye dog

What a touching story from the New York Daily News:

BY Lauren Johnston

Tuesday, March 15th 2011, 5:40 PM

The future was uncertain for a seeing eye dog who suddenly lost his sight.

Photo by Rex USA. After six years of loyal service guide dog Edward was left unable to carry out his job after going blind – then Opal stepped in to help.

Yellow Labrador “Edward” saw for his blind owner Graham Waspe, 60, for six years until the 8-year-old pup was diagnosed with inoperable cataracts and had to have his eyes removed.

Waspe, who lost one eye and has partial sight in the other, was devastated for his longtime canine companion.

“If it was a person or a child you could at least explain to them what was going to happen,” said Waspe in a video interview with the BBC. “In the case of an animal, of course, you can’t, so we found that side of it very traumatic”

Waspe’s wife Sandra said the couple “cried and cried” once they learned that Edward would have to undergo surgery.

The family, who live in Stowmarket, England, then welcomed Edward’s successor Opal into their home – another yellow Labrador trained as a guide dog.

Opal not only jumped in as Waspe’s partner – she quickly became a loyal companion for Edward.

“They’ve become quite good friends and get on happily together,” said Waspe. “There are certain times I’m sure where Opal will help and Edward is happier by having another dog around.”

Edward coped better than his owners anticipated – the commands of “left” and “right” he learned to guide Waspe proved handy in helping him adjust to life without sight.

“He’s just the same old Edward, except I have to say sometimes ‘Mind your head Edward,'” Sandra Waspe said.

The couple plans to return the loyalty Edward showed them.

“We just wouldn’t want to leave him,” Graham Waspe said.

They plan to care for the pooch “until the day that either we go of he goes.”

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