Natural Balance Celebrates National Guide Dog Month With the Top Human-Canine Teams Who Make Us Believe

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.

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.
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:
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.
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. The added peace of mind that Dynamo gives Tom, and the support and positive reinforcement that Tom gives Dynamo, have helped the two complete a half-marathon together, raising $6,000 for charity. With no signs of slowing down, the two are now planning to hike up Mount Rainier and travel the country—speaking as ambassadors for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
As Tom’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 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 feel like I have a special bond with my pup, Bink! He is a rescue hound mix and we rescued him last year. I feel that he has also rescued me! 
He’s such a sweet and sensitive soul!
Do you have a special bond with your pet? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Here is a favorite story of mine! This story is so inspiring!


Melissa & Camry!

Imagine for a brief moment that you are in your late 20s and realize that you are going blind. For Melissa Hudson, this is not just an imaginary scenario—it’s her life story.
Being diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at age three, Melissa was at risk of losing her eyesight from a very young age. In the coming years, she slowly began to realize the impact that this diagnosis would have on her. As Melissa had to sit closer and closer to the whiteboard in her college courses and could no longer see her friends waving to her across campus, things began to take a turn. As her vision continued to deteriorate, her doctor told her: “Melissa, you need to face the facts, you’re going blind.” She was just 27 years old.
The hardest step after hearing this shocking news was accepting the use of a cane to help Melissa get around. When she finally accepted her new reality,Melissa was ready for the chance to bring her old self back—and her first step was to apply to Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Now on her third guide dog—a beautiful black Labrador named Camry—Melissa is an entirely different person. She says that with Camry, her “invisibility clock has been lifted.” Her independence and mobility have been enhanced, and new-found freedom shines through her countless adventures with Camry. The two have traveled to three continents, including North America, Europe, and Asia.Even more importantly, through the highest of highs and lowest of lows, Camry is always by Melissa’s side. From navigating through the chaotic streets of Los Angeles to dodging skateboarders, Camry and Melissa tackle each new obstacle like professionals. Together, the two are ready to conquer the world.

Here are also a  few photos of Guide Dogs for the Blind’s amazing dogs in action! Credit:  Guide Dogs for the Blind.

brandon-crawford-supporter     guide-dog-adult-and-puppy

Self Disclosure: I participated in the Natural Balance and Guide Dogs for the Blind for their National Guide Dog Month campaign and received free products to facilitate this post. The above story of Melissa & Camry was shared with permission. Photos and info was provided.

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