Dogs are known to bring a smile to our faces and uplift our spirits, but golden retrievers Addie and Jake are showing us they can do just the same for each other, too.
After Jake lost his sight, his sister Addie became his eyes and helped him readjust to the world.
Jake was a perfectly happy dog, with “probably the most energy of all the dogs we’ve had," owner Kim Atkinson told "GMA."
That's until his older sister, another golden retriever named Molly, passed away and left Jake heartbroken. The Atkinsons got Addie, then a puppy, to comfort Jake and keep him company.
As Addie was growing up and learning the ropes from Jake, the two formed a close bond. And there are cute puppy videos to prove it!
But soon, the Atkinsons started noticing that something was wrong with Jake's eyes.
When he first started experiencing symptoms, “Addie would go up to his eyes and try to start licking his eyes," Kim Atkinson recalls.
After months of treatment and vet visits, they realized Jake was no longer able to produce tears and would have to get his eyes removed. If not, they'd have to put him down.
“We were very concerned about it, because it just seemed so barbaric to have your dog's eyes removed,” Kim Atkinson said. But after hearing from other dog owners who had been through similar procedures, they realized it was the best way to ensure Jake could live pain-free.
“He must’ve been so miserable ... he had them removed, he was just a happy dog again. The vet said he was wagging his tail when he woke up from the surgery,” Kim Atkinson told "GMA."
After he came home, Addie was so excited to see her brother again. She stayed close to him and he turned to her for cues on how to get around.
"For a really long time afterwards, she was always really close to him...He had to map out our house again, and learn where things were." Kim Atkinson said.
When Kim and her husband Joe would try to coax Jake down the stairs, he was not able to do it, so Addie would come halfway up the stairs to show him how to get down.
"What Joe and I would do wouldn't have the same effect as if Addie did that, kind of encouraging him."
Jake has learned a lot from Addie since he lost his sight, so much so that he's able to run around in open spaces and play just like he used to.
But when the family goes on trips and to new environments, he definitely still relies a lot on his little sister.
"They snuggle up close together and just love being together."
As for if Addie is officially Jake's seeing eye dog, Joe Atkinson doesn't think so. "I think people try to give her superpowers, but it's a lot more simple than that," he said. "I think their story is about just being there for each other and that it can make the difference."