Blind Golden Retriever Gets a ‘Seeing-Eye’ Puppy

Clear the Shelters
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Charlie is a blind, 11-year-old golden retriever who has turned his new puppy companion into his own tiny “seeing-eye” dog.

Charlie and Maverick are two golden retrievers that are taking social media by storm with their story — a 4-month-old puppy helping a blind dog “see” again.

Their owners, Chelsea and Adam Stipe, used to live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but now reside in Mooresville, North Carolina. 

Adam Stipe has had Charlie since he was a puppy, his wife said. The older dog has adapted well to being blind and still loves to play and take walks.

But the story of his own personal seeing-eye dog started back in 2016 when Charlie had to have his left eye removed because of glaucoma, which was causing the dog discomfort. 

Only a year later, Charlie began to lose sight and experience pain in his right eye, so his owners decided to have it removed as well.

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

Chelsea said she always wanted to add another puppy to their family, and getting one during her pregnancy would be the perfect way to make sure their child had a dog to grow up with.

On New Year’s Day 2019, the family got a lively and friendly puppy named Maverick.

Although Charlie wasn’t a fan of Maverick at first, the blind dog eventually got comfortable with the puppy.

“They’re both pretty crazy and special. They’re definitely our entertainment,” Chelsea joked.

As the two dogs became friends, Maverick began to notice that something was different about Charlie.

“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 said.

Even during walks, the two dogs learned how to support each other.

“They almost turn into little sled dogs where they’ll walk together,” Chelsea said.

Chelsea submitted the dogs’ story and pictures to WeRateDogs, a social media account with millions of followers across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

WeRateDogs contacted Chelsea saying that they loved her dogs’ story and would post Charlie and Mav.

The post of Charlie and Mav on March 18 immediately gained hundreds of thousands of likes across social media with people commenting how much they adore the dogs.

“It was crazy, it was not what I was expecting,” Chelsea said.

Within an hour of posting the pictures, WeRateDogs reached back out to Chelsea saying she should consider making an Instagram account for her two famous pups.

Once Chelsea made the Charlie and Mav Instagram, the account gained more than 20,000 followers in the first day.

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

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COMMON ITEMS YOU CAN DONATE


  • Towels and blankets - Shelters are often cold and animals like to have a blanket to curl up on. Towels are a big help to dry animals off after being bathed or if they come in wet. Towels can also be used to line the bottoms of cages. The towels or blankets don't have to be brand new or in perfect condition. The animals won't mind, as long as they're usable.
  • Canned and Dry Food for Cats and Dogs-Healthy - Healthy pet options for nourishment
  • Kitty litter and cat boxes - Cats go to the bathroom- a lot. Shelters are constantly using bag after bag of litter. Their supply runs out fast.
  • Puppy or kitten formula and nursing bottles - Sometimes there are situations where a young puppy or kitten who is not weaned gets separated from their mother. In these situations they need puppy or kitten formula to survive.
  • Old newspaper - When you're done with your newspapers you usually just throw them away or recycle them, right? You could help animals at no cost to you if you just save up your old newspapers. Newspapers are used in the bottoms of cages. They get soiled quickly, so they're in constant demand.
  • Collars, harnesses, and leashes - Dogs who are taken out on walks need a leash and collar or harness. The shelter loses some because adopted dogs often go home with their leash or harness.
  • Grooming supplies - Grooming supplies can include shampoo, brushes, combs, haircutting scissors, etc. Dogs and cats often come in dirty or end up getting dirty. Grooming supplies can keep them fresh, clean, and adoptable.
  • Toys - You would get bored if you had to lay in a crate alone all day, wouldn't you? Animals in shelters get bored, too. It keeps the animals from being so lonely and bored and allows them to get exercise. You could go out and buy new toys, or you could donate toys your pets or children may have not gotten much use out of. It's as simple as that.
  • Crates and carriers - Animals need to be transported somehow, and the cost of multiple crates and carriers can add up quickly. You can donate ones you stopped using that are still in good condition or you could go buy one for a decent price. This helps the shelter tremendously.
  • Paper towels and cleaning supplies - There are a lot of situations that get messy, so paper towels are a big help.
  • Hand wash and hand sanitizer - People who work at shelters need to keep their hands clean for their and the animals' health.
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, and bleach - Towels and blankets get soiled often so the washing machines are being used a lot
  • Dog and cat beds - this can offer the animals a soft place to lay instead of a kennel or cage floor.
  • Heating pads - Many animals come in cold or are young and need warmth. Heating pads can replace a mother's warmth.
  • Copy paper and pens, pencils, post-it notes and staples - You can't forget about all the paperwork that has to be done. Donating these items makes it so the shelter doesn't have to buy them on their own.
  • Garbage bags, mops, brooms, and sponges - The shelter uses these every day and clean up supplies can get expensive.
  • Food bowls - As new animals come in, the shelter needs new places to put food. Having an adequate supply could mean life or death for an animal in a shelter.
  • Rubber and latex gloves - A lot of messy stuff happens and gloves are necessary to lessen the spread of germs.
  • Plastic shopping bags - Plastic bags can be used to clean up dog mess and to store things in.

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