Man Acts as Seeing-Eye Guide for His Blind Dog

Steve Boers and his Irish Setters, Manny and O’Toole, love to go for runs. The three are a well-oiled machine as both O’Toole and Boers guide Manny, who is blind. A few years back Boers became concerned about Manny because he was urinating constantly. A visit to the vet gave Boers the unfortunate news that Manny had diabetes. Within a few months Manny had gone completely blind. However the 8-year-old setter and his owner haven’t let it slow them down.

O’Toole (left), Manny (center) and Steve Boers out for a run.

This was not the first time Boers had dealt with this situation. Boers had previously owned an Irish Setter who also suffered from diabetes. His first time around Boers spent $40,000 on eye surgery, but after surgery the dog didn’t want to go outside anymore and died only a month later. So this time around Boers decided to try a different approach. He worked with Manny to guide him around obstacles, starting in the backyard. It took some time, as Manny ran into things, but Boers and Manny have worked out a system.

As they go for a run Boers yells out, “Curb Manny,” and Manny instinctively paws at the air and lifts his front paws to clear the curb. Later on in their run Manny stops to paw the air and Boers tells him “no” letting Manny know that there is no curb. O’Toole helps Manny out as well.  When it’s time to make a turn, she bumps into his side to let him know to turn.

Although Boers goes the extra mile for his dog, Manny does as much for him. Boers at age 60 is recently unemployed, and both Manny and O’Toole help keep him going and motivated during the difficult search for employment.  “I don’t know what I would do without them,” Boers admits.

1 thought on “Man Acts as Seeing-Eye Guide for His Blind Dog”

  1. Blind dogs actually don’t need much guidance after they learn the lay of the land. In unfamiliar territory, yes. I’m careful to not rearrange the furniture and to always park the car in the same place (the tires are good fire hydrants ;), but he’s got the whole 20 acres pretty much scouted out. He and his nose are amazing.

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