Trained guide dogs honored at local ceremony

PHILADELPHIA - July 26, 2012

Any person who owns a guide dog will tell you the highly-trained pets are many things all at once, including constant companions, trustworthy friends, and many times, life savers, like Zahra, who works with May Davis.

"A lady stopped me on the street the other day and said, 'Did you know that dog just saved your life?' And I said, 'Well, she does it at least once every day'," said May.

Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Center City held a guide dog appreciation day Thursday complete with treats and chewy toys.

It was for the dogs and their human companions, but it was also held to raise awareness.

"When the harness is on they need to stay focused. It is very tempting to walk over and pet the dog, say the dog's name. Don't do it," said Patricia Johnson.

Finigan is a 6 year old golden retriever and guide dog who has been with his owner since 2008. But when it comes to their relationship, she says it is a total matter of trust.

"I trust him implicitly," said Patty Lariccia. "I put my life in his paws every day. He's a very good dog. He's very focused when we are traveling, so I have no problem about trusting him."

As for Zahra, she will be retiring in the fall. But May Davis, her companion, insists, they will remain together, even after Zahra's service is done.

That is the bond of a guide dog.

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