Footage of a blind dog being led down stairs by its own service dog has been shared and is warming hearts all over the place.
The pair were filmed leaving a hotel together in Quezon City, in the Philippines, as the service dog patiently led its blind pal down the steep steps.
As the golden retriever, named Ginger, takes it one step at a time, the blind Cavalier King Charles spaniel, called Kimchi, tentatively follows, showing the trust and bond the two dogs have built together.
Ginger and Kimchi are often invited to provide emotional support to hospital patients, stressed-out students and company employees.
The person who filmed the dogs said:
[Kimchi] was thin, mangy, weak, with flea-infested matted fur, and already blind. He was later adopted by a family with a Golden Retriever mix called Ginger, who is now almost 13 years old. Since then, a very special bond has developed between the two.
That family was Eric and Thea, who have another gold retriever called T-Bone. They explained to When In Manila how Ginger immediately bonded with Kimchi when they saw her at the animal rescue shelter. Thea said: ‘Ginger rejected all the other dogs, until we came across Kimchi’.
View this post on Instagram
Ginger became Kimchi’s guide dog by accident at first. Eric and Thea initially leashed Ginger and Kimchi together just so Kimchi wouldn’t wander off, but Ginger naturally started leading the spaniel around and patiently walking next to her.
Nowadays, the pair never go anywhere without the other by their side.
Service dogs, or therapy dogs, are often used to visit hospitals, special needs centres and nursing homes, to help support those in need.
Recently, they have also been used to provide comfort in disaster areas.
Canine volunteers from the Alliance of Therapy Dogs have been visiting victims of Hurricane Florence in eastern North Carolina, as Herald Sun reports.
Margot Bennett, one of the volunteers, said:
One of the things that these dogs are so good at is providing support. You know, just being there and having something to pet. It makes people happy. And these dogs are trained to do this kind of work because they are happy to be with people. It just gives them a sense of peace.
Insurance company Allstate Corp began using therapy dogs and volunteers to offer support at its mobile sites after helping people who had been affected by the wildfires in California this summer.
Company spokesman Justin Herdon said:
You kind of learn what customers need and then evolve to that. We found after the wildfires, which was a really emotional experience for a lot of families coming back to nothing, that something like therapy dogs might help. Sure enough, it has.
While service dogs are more than happy to help those in need, once in a while they need a break too. In April this year, volunteers from Canine Companions for Independence took a group of well-behaved service dogs on a field trip to Disneyland and, as expected, the photos are adorable – check them out here.