It's all around us--the power of interdependence.
But in a world that values the self-sufficient and self-made, we often fail to appreciate it or notice it. Even the harmony and beauty of one of the best examples of such mutual dependence--the relationship between a blind person and a Guide Dog. A relationship that's about more than being able to go to the grocery store, or ride the bus alone, or do all the things sighted people can do.
To have a Guide Dog is to embrace all those things in life, the experiences and little moments we take so for granted, that give one joy and purpose. Life, after all, is a lot more rewarding when there's someone to share it with. To have a partner who likes to sing along to your favorite songs, who doesn't mind getting up at 5 a.m. for a walk--even when it's raining. Who can be as silly or as serious or as sensitive as you. Someone who understands you in a way no one else could, who you trust with your life every single day.
Blind people describe their Guide Dogs as their soul mates, best friends, even mind readers. It's a connection so powerful perhaps only they have the capacity to understand it. But we can all appreciate it. Finding such a soul mate doesn't happen magically, and certainly not by itself. It happens because of all the people who believe so passionately in the power of this partnership--the puppy raisers, and dog trainers, veterinarians, mobility instructors, the volunteers, and everyone in between. A web of support that doesn't end with a graduation ceremony, but is there for a lifetime. It takes a whole community to find that soul mate. But most of all, it takes time. Time spent getting to know each other one-on-one. Learning each other's strengths, personalities, idiosyncrasies. How to communicate with one another. Developing a relationship everyone can learn from. A partnership that will take them a lot further in life than down the sidewalk.