Meet One Family’s Blind Pet Deer and Her Seeing-Eye Poodle

Willie is Dillie’s eyes, and Dillie is Willie’s whole heart.

Editor’s Note: America’s Best Pet Pals is a nationwide search for the animal friendships that make you laugh, cry, and purr. Reader’s Digest will be honoring the best in pet friendship in print, online, and on social media. This is a finalist in our “Animals to Animals” category. Scroll to the bottom to cast your vote for Dillie and Willie. To see our full list of finalists, go to and vote in each category.

Rejected and blind at birth, farm deer Dillie was brought to my veterinary clinic in 2004, barely alive. After a week, she came home to live with us, but she was too fragile and afraid to live in the barn, so she stayed in the house and was mothered by our standard poodle, Lady.

Dillie grew to be fearless by following Lady, her constant companion. However, time took its toll, and our beloved Lady passed at age 17. Dillie grieved and grieved. We knew we’d eventually have to get another friend for her and wanted one in a similar size and “texture” to Lady. When a similar standard poodle needed a rescue, we added Wilomena “Willie” K. Poodle to the family.

Willie and Dillie are now inseparable. They cuddle every night. Willie puts herself right in front of Dillie when she wants some grooming and will paw at Dillie if she stops too soon. Willie also runs point guard when Dillie goes outside to do her business, making sure no coyotes or dogs are eyeing the fence line. Willie occasionally gets jealous of the attention Dillie gets from visitors, and photobombs every photo she can. But there is a true bond and affection between them.

Now it’s Dillie who is 17. Her already poor vision is now completely gone, and she has trouble going up and down the same steps she’s used without issue for nearly two decades. Willie is there for her, acting as a furry guide. Dillie reaches out with her tongue and finds that curly, silky fur, and it’s like her cane to explore the world.

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