I had a big day this week! I had an eye exam!
Every year the ACVO (American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists) Vision for Animals Foundation offers free eye exams for service and therapy dogs. So this year the Mom Person decided that seeing as how I’m starting to get up in years, so to speak, we might as well take advantage of the offer. And Dr. Beaumont says that I have some beautiful perfect eyes! Yay for me! (I had trouble not laughing when she put on those funny goggle things!)
But the experience put me in mind of my long lost days as an almost Guide Dog and a book that we have that is one of the Mom Person’s favorites that always makes her cry and that she gives to just about everybody she knows. It’s about a Guide Dog puppy. The book is called Through Otis’ Eyes, Lessons from a Guide Dog Puppy. It’s written by Patricia Burlin Kennedy and illustrated by Robert Christie. It was published by Howell Book House in 1998.
This book is kind of an adult picture book, but we have read it with kids of various ages and had some great discussions about the life lessons that it presents. I think that ultimately it is suitable for all ages!
Otis was a guide dog pup that Ms Kennedy raised for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Inc., a guide dog school in New York. This book is a thoughtful journey through her year with Otis and a look at the things that she learned from him. It begins when Otis is a wee pup with “Through Otis’ eyes I see the wonder and excitement of experiencing the world”. It moves on to “that sometimes the needs of others are greater than my own”. And ends with “Through Otis’ eyes I see that finding a purpose beyond myself makes life truly rich”.
Ms Kennedy is a very wise woman and I think that she had a very special bond with her Otis.
There are 97 pages in this book. On each spread is a simple lesson and a beautiful picture of Otis. And at the end of the book is a list of all the Guide Dog Schools and Associations in the United States. (I know that there are also Guide Dog Schools in other countries around the world). Ms Kennedy and Mr Christie both got it all absolutely right. And the Mom Person is crying right now just thinking about Otis.
So if you don’t mind a few tears, I highly recommend this book!
For more information about guide dogs visit the National Association of Guide Dog Users at their website.
You can find teacher resources and activities about eyes and vision at the American Optometrist Association website.
Be sure and check out more great picture books and resources at Susanna Hill’s!
And now lets see what the world looks like through a guide dogs eyes —