When an energetic black lab named Shelly started losing her sight at three, her owners knew they had to do something.
"We knew Shelly would need to run, play."
Putting her down was not an option, so Gail and Charles Silverstein took Shelly to a nearby animal shelter where a dog trainer suggested they look for a two-year-old male.
She took to a lab mix named Tommy immediately, but what happened when they took him home sealed the deal.
"He laid down beside her and started licking her eyes. It was like he knew she was going blind and I guess he was trying to heal her."
Within a year, Shelly lost her sight completely to a disease that destroyed her retinas.
Now, Shelly uses her other senses.
The Silversteins use a double leash when they walk the dogs, but sometimes they let Tommy take his girl for a stroll on his own.
Tommy has become a seeing-eye dog for a blind dog, Shelly feels comfortable and safe with Tommy taking the lead.
"It's like they communicate with each other. He just kinda leans towards her and puts his head near and (she) just follows him."
Tommy has never lost sight of his mission. He's there to lead, and protect.
"She's never afraid with him around. When strangers come up and she is afraid, he'll go and comfort her. It's like he knows that that's his job," said Gail.
The Silversteins are convinced that Shelly saved Tommy's life by choosing him at the pound. But, it's easy to see Tommy saved Shelly from a life lived on a short leash.
Charles Silverstein is eternally grateful, "She's blind...but she doesn't know she's blind."
© 2017 Cox Media Group.