Theirs is a friendship that was forged in need. A blind dog with anxiety, and a dog that had been shot, becoming each other's ying and yang. A balance that drew the world's attention as they searched for a home together. But how would that balance be affected if one of them suddenly changed?
"He's a good dog and I think he's going to do just fine," said Dr. Robert Gwin. He's a veterinary ophthalmologist, having Tanner prepped for surgery as he scrubs in.
"We like to get the word out that there are veterinary specialist all across this country that can do things for your pet if you're willing to go that extra mile," he said.
For Tanner that meant checking to see if his retinas were working.
"Electro-retinagram we call it ERG," said one of his assistants.
"No retinal function in his right eye, in the left eye showed very reasonable retinal function, that's the reason we were only able to do one eye," said Dr. Gwin.
A relatively quick procedure, roughly 15 minutes, during which time a white mass of cataract is sonically destroyed. One of the challenges Tanner poses?
"He's a little bit more of a difficult case because his eye's physically small and sunken down," he said.
A new lens is installed, with high hopes for strong results.
"I think he's going to regain vision here pretty quickly," he said.
And while all of this was going on, there was Blair in the waiting area, periodically checking in with the receptionist for updates.
Meanwhile, slowly coming out of the anesthesia...
"Right now he is starting to wake up," said an assistant.
Tanner could possibly be at the brink of a whole new world.
"They'll start doing this and it's like, that's amazing," she said.
And sure enough, Tanner starts to look around. When a technician walks by it looks like he's actually watching her. But then, when Tanner finally meets Blair after the surgery, the reunion is anti-climatic. There's no real reaction at all.
"Tanner, what can you see?," asked Pamela with the Golden Retriever Rescue. She is immediately optimistic.
"I think he can see," she said.
But can he really? There will be 3 months of follow-up visits. We catch up with Tanner 2 weeks after surgery.
"The eye is actually healing very, very well," said Dr. Mike Jones.
Has the surgery worked? His handler's say they've seen a difference, but out in the yard he still runs into the fence, or Blair, or the water bucket, making his current sight, if any, minimal, but...
"But, is he gonna have the ability to see some shadowing and things like that';; at least make his life a little bit easier? We're hoping so," said Dr. Jones.
And Blair? Just as protective as ever, always ready to lead the way, should her best friend never truly be able to find it on his own.
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