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Did you know National Guide Dog Month is this September? September is also National Service Dog Month. Have you ever seen a visually impaired 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? I know I have.
National Guide Dog Month
September is National Guide Dog Month. So, I decided to learn more about what it might be like for people who are blind or visually impaired. If you’re wondering about the history of National Guide Dog Month, Dick Van Patten enlisted the help of Petco in 2008 to bring awareness for the needs of guide dog schools. He realized that it can take up to two years and $40,000 to train a guide dog.
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.’
These nine teams are outstanding examples of the amazing partnerships possible between humans and canines. I was particularly inspired by Tom and his guide dog Dynamo, and I want to share their story with you.
National Guide Dog Month
Imagine you’re on the verge of retirement, ready to enjoy your golden years to the fullest, when out of the blue—you lose your eyesight. This is what happened to Tom Kowalski. While Tom was always known for taking on any competitive sport and was no stranger to overcoming life’s adversities, this was a challenge he simply wasn’t prepared for.
After months of seeing Tom come home from his daily walks with strange bruises, his wife decided to apply to Guide Dogs for the Blind on his behalf. Before he knew it, Tom was headed to San Rafael, California to meet his future soulmate—Dynamo, a professional guide dog.
“I’ve had four great gifts in my life: my wife, my two kids, and Dynamo,” says Tom. A superhero guide dog and a superhuman athlete, Dynamo and Tom spent two intensive weeks at Guide Dogs for the Blind training and securing their bond. They have never looked back.
Dynamo and National Guide Dog Month
With Dynamo never more than 20 feet away, Tom can listen to the birds sing and feel the wind in his hair without worrying about his safety. Tom gives Dynamo added peace of mind, support, and positive reinforcement. They have complete a half-marathon together. They raised $6,000 for charity. With no signs of slowing down, the two are now planning to hike up Mount Rainier. They want to travel the country—speaking as ambassadors for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Guide dogs can also be a social bridge, opening a world of possibilities for friendship and human connection.
To help people like Tom thrive, please consider donating to Guide Dogs to the Blind. Once there, you can also read about the eight other amazing human-canine teams. There’s no better time than National Guide Dog Month to show your support for these incredible people and their four-legged superheroes.
I recently traveled to New York City for an event, and I cannot imagine trying to find my way around the city if I was blind. It was challenging enough for me to do while seeing. I love that she is able to travel NYC even in the winter with the help of her guide dog, Yuri.
My cats and I make a great team. They are always here for me when I need them and do quite a bit to help with my stress level. I cannot imagine them helping me the way that Yuri did though! Visit and support this life-changing cause today!
Beneficiaries of these donations include a variety of non-profit guide dog schools located throughout the United States.
A few celebrity spokespersons have included Paula Abdul, Scott MacIntyre, Omar Miller, and Eva LaRue.
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Ellen is a busy mom of a 22-year-old son and 27-year-old daughter. She owns 5 blogs and is addicted to social media. She has been running a small pet sitting business in southern Vermont for the past three years. She’s a proud Mommy to 2 shelter kitties. If you’d like to work together, email email@example.com to chat.