Thursday, September 8, 2016

Celebrating National Guide Dog Month

Liam the pug in the moss

Liam is the true definition of a Velcro pug. He feels most comfortable when he is no more than 2 feet away from me, and he's been known to knock down other pets (and people!) if they get between his body and mine. Wherever I go, he goes too. I like to think that we have a bond that's both strong and just a little extraordinary.

But this month is set aside to remember dogs that do more than provide their people with companionship and unconditional love. These dogs also help their humans to compensate for losses that most of us just don't understand.

They're guide dogs. The value of their work is hard to overstate.

So, when premium-quality pet food manufacturer Natural Balance asked me to help to spread the word about Guide Dogs for the Blind, I was happy to help.

Guide Dogs for the Blind is a non-profit charitable organization that raises and trains exceptional guide dogs to serve the blind and visually impaired. They're sharing stories of people who have benefited from working with a guide dog. Today, I'd like to share one story with you.

Guide Dogs for the Blind

This is Tom Kawalski, and he lost his vision very late in life. He was just heading into retirement when his vision slipped away, and while he tried to compensate without using any kind of tools, he kept coming home with bumps and bruises.

That changed when he got Dynamo, a professional guide dog. Dynamo and Tom trained together for 2 weeks, and now, they do almost everything together. They even ran a half-marathon together, raising $6,000 for charity. 

As a runner myself, I know the kind of dedication it takes to prepare and endure a race like this. I salute Tom and Dynamo for going through that journey together, and for their ability to make life better for other people in need. 

Tom's daily life is also just a little better because of Dynamo. He can walk around his neighborhood without the worry of injury. He can prepare and give public speeches, knowing that he can get to the podium without falling. And he feels secure in his own home, with his companion at his side. Dynamo has made his life just richer. All because he was trained to do that work by Guide Dogs for the Blind.

We all know that dogs can do amazing things. Even Liam, in his way, helps everyone he meets. He provides support for blind cat Lucy, for example. He runs to comfort her when she cries or gets lost, and she snuggles up to him when she feels worried or concerned. He's not trained to help her, of course. And he isn't always as dedicated to his job as he could be (he is a food-driven pug, after all). But his compassion and love for her runs deep. And it's easy to see.

Dog and cat in love

But I think we can all agree that guide dogs do just a little bit more. And they deserve our support. Head over to the Natural Balance Guide Dog Month web page, and read more stories about guide dogs and the people they've helped. If you're moved by those stories, donate what you can. You'll help to support the organization's mission to provide dogs to those who need them. People like Tom will benefit.

Liam and Lucy thank you!

Disclosure: I was asked by the Natural Balance team to spread the word about Guide Dogs for the Blind, and I was given coupons, a shirt and other small forms of compensation in return. Rest assured that I only recommend products on this blog that I feel have real value to my readers.


  1. Amazing post, thanks so much fur sharing!


    Basil & Co xox

  2. Excellent post. I wish every blind person could have a guide dog.