Our pals at Natural Balance have always had a special spot in our hearts, because they care deeply for their community and the dogs and humans that make community vibrant and unique. We also love Natural Balance because they use their reach to help raise awareness for important causes. One of those causes shows the incredible bond between humans and their dogs - National Guide Dog Month, which takes place in September. Join us as we explore the story of a human/guide dog duo that has inspired us and has helped to remind us just how amazing guide dogs can be.
The company sent along inspirational stories of guide dogs and their humans, along with heart warming photos and asked us to do something nearly impossible...to select the story that resonated with us the most. That, was a difficult feat! I encourage you to research the other bloggers that wrote about National Guide Dog Month on behalf of Natural Balance so you can be privy to even more awe inspiring stories! You can also locate the stories of each duo through the following link: https://www.naturalbalanceinc.com/GuideDogs It was after much deep thought that we identified the team that connected most with us.
Let me introduce you to Maia and her pup Fiddler. Maia has been blind since birth. She chose not to use a cane for much of her life for fear of looking different from her peers. Her concern regarding appearing “different” is what resonated with me. Why? Because so many people, struggle with that concern, regardless of the origin.
Maia was apprehensive about using a guide dog to replace her use of a cane, but not for the reason you may think. She felt badly that she would be using a dog to help her. I understand this trepidation, and I probably would have felt similarly. I’m so happy to hear that her thought process changed when she witnessed the bond that others were feeling with their guide dogs.
Since being paired with Fiddler, a dog that had been trained through Guide Dogs for the Blind, she has gone on to achieve incredible accomplishments. From earning a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts to traveling across Europe on her own, Fiddler has helped her with confidence and maneuverability.
She refers to their dynamic like having a dance partner. “While I am the director and choreographer saying where to go and when, he is the lead,” says Maia. What an great analogy to use in relation to their connection and the give and take of their relationship.
While I don’t utilize Bean and Yoda to provide a service, I can most certainly commiserate with the unspoken connection I have with my dogs and vice-versa. In an instant, they can tell when I am hurting, whether it’s physical pain (like my stints dealing with kidney stones), times of sadness and loss, or moments of anxiety. They.Just.Know. They could be roughhousing one moment, notice my demeanor, and immediately adjust their behavior without a word. Bean has served as a pup heating pad, leaning ever so gently against my kidney while I writhed in anguish. Yoda has gingerly licked tears from my cheeks with the softest look of concern in his expression. The photo below is one of my favorites depicting our family bond. Please take a moment to share in the comments some of the ways you’ve shared in the bond between dog and human.
Guide Dog Awareness month helps to celebrate the ways in which guide dogs have helped to positively impact the lives of their humans. Did you know, the awareness month was inspired by Natural Balance co-founder Dick Van Patten? It is also a way to highlight the organizations that have worked tirelessly to identify, train, and partner guide dogs with deserving humans. One such organization is Guide Dogs for the Blind. This is the largest guide dog school in the country and services are provided at no cost to the students. The organization relies on donations in order to help raise puppies, equip clients and serve alumni. If you feel so inclined to provide a donation to a worthy cause this month, consider donating to Guide Dogs for the Blind. We were so inspired by the stories of guide dogs and their humans that we have made a donation in honor of our readers! Please join us in thanking Guide Dogs for the Blind for all they've done to help raise guide dogs and partnering them with their humans!