Opal steps in to do the seeing for a man and his dog
Graham Waspe with Edward and Opal. Photos by Alex Fairfull
Graham Waspe was devastated when his seeing-eye dog, Edward, lost his sight. The two had been together for six years and were best buddies.
Graham, who is 60 years old and lives in Stowmarket, England, lost most of his sight early in life, and managed without a dog until Edward came along. “Edward changed my life,” he said.
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Man and dog are well-known around the community. They give talks at schools and community centers about the Guide Dogs charity and how the dogs learn to guide blind people around.
But last year, Edward developed inoperable glaucoma, and both eyes had to come out. Graham and his wife, Sandra, were both devastated.
“We cried buckets on the night they told us they were going to remove his first eye,” Sandra said. “Then they said they would have to remove the second eye.”
“But we were determined to keep caring for him,” Graham said.
Then the Waspes heard that another dog was available in their area. Last November, 2-year-old Opal joined the family, and she’s been acting as the eyes for both Graham and Edward.
Edward is now officially “retired,” but he’s certainly not slowing down. Indeed, the twosome that used to be Graham and Edward is now a threesome, with Opal acting as seeing-eye dog for both her friends who can’t see.
“Since losing his sight last October, Edward has just adapted incredibly well,” Graham said. He and Opal are very affectionate and just love to lie down together.”
Sandra said that Edward loves nothing more than to be around children, have his tummy patted and receive lots of attention.
And since Graham also does fundraising work for Guide Dogs, the story of Opal and Edward has been helping to bring lots more attention to the work of the organization.