Dog brings renewed sense of happiness to man after losing his wife

Blind man gets dog

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Bob Mates had no clue that a conversation about dogs at a party would lead him to his sweet Lucy Brown.

Mates lost his wife Dori back in May. Dori survived two bouts of cancer, but a battle with liver disease eventually led to her passing. 

"After Dori died I was feeling very depressed," said Mates. "I mean waking up every morning alone in this house there was nothing for me to do, so i was pretty much sleeping the days away."

Mates got an invite to a family's friends party in July. He said he wasn't feeling up to it.

"I didn't really wanna go. I wasn't feeling particularly sociable that night," he said. 

But he found out his friend's grandson, Justin, would be there with his new puppy, Clark. 

"Well, I am sucker for a dog, so I went," he said. 

Justin Jewell, 24, had met Bob several times over the years, but the two had never been more than acquaintances. 

They got to talking about their shared love for dogs, and Mates told Jewell how much he wanted a little lap dog. 

Mates is visually impaired and lacks 90 percent of his hearing, so he's had guide dogs throughout his life. But now, he said he doesn't get around enough to justify using one. 

He just wanted a little dog, like a Shi Tzu or a Yorkie. 

"I thought that was an easy enough request," Jewell said. 

The next day Jewell called Mates to let him know he'd set up a Go Fund Me page to help raise money for his dog. 

"I knew he was feeling down and wanted a dog, and I knew the joy that Clark brings us. So, I thought we could find him a companion to bring him the same joy," Jewell said. 

With help from Clark the Doodle's heavy instagram following many people felt moved to donate toward Bob's cause. 

The page raised $1,500 and within a month, Mates' wish came true. 

Jewell received all sorts of help from other community members moved by Bob's story. He finally found the perfect dog, 2-year-old Shi Tzu, Lucy Brown. 

Mates and Lucy have not spent a moment apart since. 

"She's brightened up my life considerably."Dori was a cat person he told us. 

"Ah but she'd love Lucy. She'd absolutely love her," Mates said. "Lemme tell you what Dori never wanted a dog, but she was a softy at heart."

Bob said it's finally getting a little easier to get out of bed. 

"Well you kind of have to!!!"Mates is eternally grateful to Jewell. 

"It's very unusual for a person to take the kind of interest that Justin took in me. It doesn't happen a lot. Especially a young guy taking interest in an old guy like myself," said Mates. 

Jewell said he plans to take Bob and Lucy to the dog park every few weeks, and he will keep up with vet visits and any of Lucy's needs. 

Jewell said before this he didn't even have Mates' phone number, but now they talk at least once a week. 

Watch the video below to hear Bob's song, "The Lucy Brown Blues": 

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