Dogs are very helpful to us, humans. They have millions of uses in our society: they support us emotionally, they guide us, they help sniff things out. Arguably, there are no substitutes for what they provide for us. But it turns out that dogs don’t see much difference between species, and they’re as good-willed and helpful to other species as they are to humans. Tao, the 12-year-old golden retriever who had his eyes surgically removed due to glaucoma, and Oko, his trusty helper, are a testament to that.

Melanie Jackson, the loving owner of Tao, recounted how it all went. Last year, Tao got diagnosed with glaucoma, an eye disease where the eye can’t effectively drain its fluids. The disease progressed unexpectedly and rapidly. One morning, Tao seemed to be doing just fine, but in the evening, he started shaking his head (dogs do that when they feel pain), and just a few hours later, he went blind in one eye and had the eye removed. In January, his other eye gave out and had to be removed as well.

More info: Instagram

Tao got diagnosed with glaucoma and lost both of his eyes. Despite his blindness, he recovered quickly and was happy again

Image credits: tao_mr_winky

But the dog recovered quickly. Just three days later, he was walking up the staircase all by himself and was able to walk off-leash. The dog seemed happy. But something was missing. Tao needed someone to play with him and keep him company, especially since he’d lost his sight.

But something was missing

Image credits: tao_mr_winky

“Tao’s health is really good now. He’s in no pain, and to say he’s nearly 12, he acts like a much younger dog! He does everything he used to do apart from jumping up hay bales and jumping over hedges—we walk around 8 miles a day and he still trains most days,” Melanie told Bored Panda.

The owner decided to look for a dog that could be a play pal for him

Image credits: tao_mr_winky

Oko, being only 8 weeks old, clicked with Tao and became his guide

Image credits: tao_mr_winky

Enter Oko, another golden retriever. He was just about 8 weeks old when Melanie got him, but the dog duo clicked immediately and have become inseparable ever since. Oko inadvertently has become a guide dog to another dog. Tao follows Oko around when they’re walking, and they also sleep together. The owner is also simultaneously training Tao to follow Oko so he won’t get into trouble. “Oko is being trained by me—if not, he would lead Tao into mischief as he is a typical inquisitive puppy. Tao is being trained to follow Oko’s scent and Oko to listen and respond to my commands to ‘stop, wait, go right, go left.'”

They’re around each other all the time. They walk and sleep together

Image credits: tao_mr_winky

Image credits: tao_mr_winky

The owner is also training Tao to follow Oko’s lead

Image credits: tao_mr_winky

Oko is now about 17 weeks old, and seemingly, he has gotten used to his new role. Mel, the owner, has also raised a cause for glaucoma awareness in dogs. She has worked with The Kennel Club, who have used Tao’s DNA to help identify other dogs’ proneness to glaucoma. It can be prevented if diagnosed early enough. Ever since the news, the internet just fell in love with this newly-formed pair, and they have a solid 30k followers to show for it. If you support this wholesome duo, make sure you follow them on their social media linked above.

She is also raising awareness for glaucoma in dogs

Image credits: tao_mr_winky

Oko, being about 17 weeks old at the moment, has gotten used to his new role

Image credits: tao_mr_winky

Image credits: tao_mr_winky

Both of the dogs have amazing personalities to match: “Tao is a 100% mommy’s boy—he is always close by and he is like my little shadow. He loves to please and his favorite thing is scent work—he still scents out balls in the hedges and fields and loves finding his toys when l hide them either in the garden or in the house.

Oko was bred by a fantastic breeder from Cornwall—we had always planned to have another pup after Tao lost his brother Otis to cancer 3 years ago, but due to his sight loss and the training l needed to do with Tao, we had to focus on him until the time was right.

Tao is an amazing dog and is loved by everyone we meet—he is known locally and people often ask if they can have a selfie with him.”