January 05, 2012 02:00 PM

Like a little gentleman, Franky confidently leads the way wherever he and his girl Elly go.

The 4-year-old dog is a guide for his lifelong canine companion, who is blind and deaf. He navigates the world and leads her to food and water; she follows.

“She always goes to him and he just takes her places,” says Elaine Buchan, manager at the RSPCA in Newport, Wales, where the rescued dogs have been living for some months. “He’s not trained to be a guide dog, but he kind of does it naturally.”

The remarkable and inseparable pugs were morbidly obese when an animal inspector brought them to the shelter last year. They spent Christmas at the shelter, but the New Year is full of promise: An appearance on Welsh TV and a subsequent story in the Daily Mail helped find them a place to call home.

Buchan told PEOPLE Wednesday that a local woman is in the process of adopting the dogs, who have ongoing health issues, and they will go to their forever home on Friday. Until then, they are enjoying visits from their new mom each day.

“They’re such happy dogs now,” says Buchan. “They play a lot, and whenever they see their person they’re just thrilled and give her lots of cuddles.”

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