Have you ever seen a blind person in public and didn’t know how to react, or felt awkward?
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to ‘see’ through the eyes of their guide dog?
My vision is incredibly horrid and I am considered legally blind according to the eye doctor. However, I am able to see with the aid of contacts and glasses. September is National Guide Dog Month, so I decided to learn more about how many dogs are assisting the blind.
I’m partnering with Natural Balance (the maker of premium-quality pet food) and Guide Dogs for the Blind (a non-profit charitable organization that raises and trains exceptional guide dogs to serve the blind and visually impaired) to recognize the ‘Top Human-Canine Teams Who Make Us Believe.’
Natural Balance is featuring nine teams who are outstanding examples of the amazing partnerships possible between humans and canines.
I was particularly inspired by Michelle and her guide dog Oscar, and I want to share their story with you:
Imagine being born with glaucoma and not being able to navigate your world without incurring many bumps and bruises.
It was many years before Michelle decided to apply for the Guide Dogs for Blind program and she applied about the same time that she started her undergraduate degree in psychology.
She was matched with a beautiful golden guide dog Oscar and the two immediately fell into step with each other. Within two months they knew they had a lifelong partnership.
Even more surprising was the change Oscar brought from people around Michelle. On the first day of the new semester many people approached Michelle wanting to speak to her and Oscar.
With this positive attention, the pair was able to walk with confidence everyday—from small grocery shopping trips to longer trips to visit Michelle’s sister in Los Angeles. Together, the two tackle intense psychology and jiu jitsu classes, but always leave room for playtime.
As Michelle’s story shows, in addition to providing enhanced mobility, guide dogs can also be a social bridge, opening a world of possibilities for friendship and human connection.
To help people like Michelle thrive, please consider donating to Guide Dogs to the Blind. Once there, you can also read about the eight other amazing human-canine teams and the incredible work that the organization does. There’s no better time than National Guide Dog Month to show your support for these incredible people and their four-legged superheroes.
Dogs are incredible creatures-they provide companionship, they fulfill duties to help people, they work with people, they are unwavering, loyal, and always lend a willing ear.
I am endlessly grateful for my dogs who have provided me the opportunity to meet wonderful people such as the community of BlogPaws and those who are part of Arizona Cattle Dog Rescue among others. Bella has provided an easy ice-breaker for a perfect stranger to initiate conversation. When I’m out with Bella, Terra, or Kronos, people stop and talk to me a lot more because they are interested in my canine companions. It is so easy to talk about dogs with another person.
Bella, Terra, and Kronos are each so different and I’m always learning while trying to bridge the communication gap that exists between our species. Although, many times words don’t even have to be spoken-enough is said in a glance, a nose touch, or a tail wag. We enjoy learning tricks together, watching movies, reading books, doing agility, hiking, camping, and have even gone kayaking, canoeing, and stand up paddleboarding. Our relationship allows us to do these things together because, together, we are a team.