Guide dog leads man to safety after earthquake

March 12, 2011 • Posted in blindness, guide dogs, Uncategorized by

That's Nigel, my co-worker.

After hearing about the earthquakes in Japan yesterday, this story is particularly poignant. One of my co-workers at Easter Seals Headquarters is from New Zealand. Wellington, to be exact. Earlier this week Nigel (don’t you think that’s a great name? I do!) sent me a story he saw in a New Zealand paper about a guide dog named Kiwi. The eight-year-old Labrador/Retriever cross led his blind companion Blair McConnell safely out of an office building after last month’s earthquake in Christchurch. Kiwi stayed on task until a stranger gave the shaken pair a ride home. The story was heartwarming, of course, but what I found particularly interesting was this part of the article :

Kiwi’s bravery is already the stuff of urban legend. The story goes that the dog guided his master on foot across town to his home,
which has left McConnell feeling “a bit of a fraud”, knowing he got a ride, but: “I’m quite sure he would have walked me home that day if he had needed to.” 

This is the kind of quirky thing editors at Bark magazine just love. I contacted the blog moderator there to see if she might want me to write a guest post about Kiwi, and she said, “Sure!”

What? You call yourself a dog lover, and you’ve never heard of The Bark?! Here’s a description of the four-color glossy magazine from their web site:

Taking the magazine’s slogan to heart—Dog Is My Co-Pilot—Bark became the first magazine to tap into the exploding phenomena of dog culture and lifestyle, focusing on the growing bond between individuals and their pet companions. Bark’s impeccable pedigree includes publishing many of today’s most acclaimed authors, including Ann Patchett, Augusten Burroughs, Rick Bass, Amy Hempel, and Pulitzer Prize winning poet Mary Oliver. 

I’ve published a few articles for The Bark, too, and it’s always a thrill to say I write for the same magazine Ann Patchett writes for! You can read my guest blog about Kiwi at The Bark’s site and link to other Bark stories there, too—if you like dogs, trust me, you’ll like The Bark.

Alexis On March 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I attempted to click the link in your post that links to the bark magazine. Unfortunately, this link links to the article about Kiwi. I’m not sure if it’s an HTML error or a problem with my browser.

bethfinke On March 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

The error was all mine — thanks for letting me know, Alexis, I went ahead and fixed the link and it should work now. Hope you enjoy my Bark blog, and feel free to comment there, too, if you like —

Jenny On March 12, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Well you know how much I love dogs? I’ve heard of Bark from your blog before but never took the time to go and look at it. What a disgrace I am, but I’ll fix that now.

Amazing story about the dog.

Bob On March 13, 2011 at 8:43 am

I think I’ll be subscribing, too.

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