When a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy was rescued by the Rochester RSPCA she was in bad shape. Ellie was raised in a home with no light or heating. She developed cataracts in both her eyes and could only see shadows. Julie Lander, a volunteer at the shelter decided to take Ellie home to care for her.
"I felt so sorry for her when she arrived here and knew she'd need a special home. But I also knew she would be all right with Leo, as he just loves little dogs and they took to one another straight away," said Julie. Leo, Julie's 14-year-old German Shepherd cross dwarfed tiny Ellie. But the moment they met each other it was love.
Leo became Ellie's champion and seeing eye dog. When the pair went for walks in the park, Leo guided Ellie around. He would protect her and herd away the more boisterous dogs to keep Ellie safe.
Ellie followed Leo around and snuggled up to him whenever she became nervous or afraid and he would always protect her. Many months later, the RSPCA raised enough funds for Ellie to get surgery for her eyes, which restored her sight.
But tragically, a few days after her sight was restored, she lost her best pal to cancer. Leo was found to have a tumor and had to be put down. Although Julie was "over the moon" that Ellie could see, she was devastated to have lost Leo, who she described as "one in a million".
Julie recalled, "Their relationship didn’t change when she got her sight back. They touched noses when Ellie came home and just curled up together. It was quite touching. It was almost as if he was here to make sure she was okay before he bowed out."
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