Blind golden retriever, puppy companion help each other, spread smiles

When a golden retriever became blind, his family brought in a puppy companion to be his helper. Now, Charlie and Maverick are learning from each other and brightening peoples’ days on social media.

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Adam Stipe has had 11-year-old Charlie since he was a puppy, he told WCAU-TV. In recent years, Charlie began suffering from glaucoma and in 2016 had to have his left eye removed. When Charlie's right eye began causing him pain about a year later, his right eye was removed as well.

While Charlie seemed to adapt well to being blind, Stipe and his wife, Chelsea Stipe, still wanted to ensure the dog had a good quality of life.

"For us, it was a no-brainer — empty our retirement plan to care for this dog because he makes us happy," Chelsea Stipe said.

Chelsea Stipe also thought it would be a good time to add a puppy to the family because she was pregnant and wanted the new baby to grow up with a family dog.

On New Year’s Day 2019, the Stipes welcomed a new golden retriever puppy, Maverick, into the family. The dogs needed some time to warm up to each other, Adam and Chelsea Stipe said, but the dogs grew to be good friends.

As the pups have grown familiar with each other, Maverick seems to have realized that something is different about Charlie, the Stipes said.

"When they would play, Maverick would realize that Charlie would lose the toy sometimes, so (Maverick) would pick it up and put it back in front of him to re-engage playtime," Chelsea Stipe said.

Chelsea Stipe recently submitted Charlie and Maverick's pictures and story to "WeRateDogs," a group with social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that posts "ratings" of furry friends (each pup gets a better-than-perfect rating) accompanied with humorous and endearing text.

WeRateDogs posted about Charlie and Maverick on March 18. Since then, love for the dogs has poured in, the Stipes said. As of Thursday afternoon, Charlie and Maverick’s tweet had more than 316,000 likes and more than 70,000 retweets.

"It was crazy, it was not what I was expecting," Chelsea Stipe said.

In response, the Stipes made Charlie and Maverick an Instagram account, @charlieandmav. After existing for two days, the account had nearly 30,000 followers.

It’s clear the dynamic dog duo will be inspiring others and evoking “awws” from followers for the foreseeable future.

"Everything has just been so positive and loving and I've even had people reaching out about their dogs who had glaucoma," Chelsea Stipe said.

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