On a rough day, Kiaya collapsed on the cold living room floor, unable to make it to her queen-sized dog bed.
Within minutes, her two “brothers” snuggled up on each side of her.
The sight brought tears to pet owner Jessica VanHusen’s eyes. That’s because life hasn’t been easy for the 10-year-old Akita, who lost both of her eyes to glaucoma over the course of 15 months.
Not only can the 100-pound dog not see, she also has a hard time walking — that is, without help from her “seeing eye dogs.”
The special needs dog didn’t have too much trouble adjusting to her new normal with 8-year-old Cass and 2-year-old Keller by her side. Without any commands, the dogs decided on their own to be her guides.
“The boys both respect her fully,” VanHusen told CBS News. “[They] allow her to eat first, they lean her up against the side of the car when we are traveling to stabilize her.”
Wherever Kiaya is, “middle-child” Cass is not far behind.
The dog has been by Kiaya’s side ever since her first eye was removed in July 2013. He would constantly follow her around in their backyard, standing next to her “blind side.”
“He became more attentive to her needs, leaning on her and cuddling,” VanHusen explained. “He even cleans her ears and face, where her eyes used to be.”
It took Keller a little longer. At less than 2 years old, the dog wasn’t fully attentive at first, VanHusen said, but he’s getting there.
“It’s amazing to watch,” Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners Ophthalmologist Dr. Gwen Sila, who performed Kiaya’s surgeries, said in a news release. “It’s clear the other dogs are trying to protect her. Their sense of loyalty is really remarkable.”
VanHusen said she has never considered training the pair to be service dogs. For now, they’ll just continue to take care of their sister, Kiaya, who turns 11 next month.
“She may be a special needs dog, but to us she’s just special,” VanHusen said. “When we ask her where her eyeballs went, she replies: ‘They’re in the garbage, I didn’t need them anymore.'”
With her brothers stepping in to assist her, that statement couldn’t be more true.