Going Home – Santiago, Chile
Leader Dogs for the Blind

May 28, 2008

We departed from Detroit Metro airport.  The filming was of Luis and Carmen as they started their journey back home.  A total of 14 hours door to door, and with them were their new guide dogs, Ruby and Rex, from Leader Dogs for the Blind. They were heading home to Santiago, Chile.

The real journey began 24 days ago when they arrived in Detroit after several years on the waiting list to hopefully be successfully matched with a new life partner from the canine world.  You can read about their story by clicking here.

I’ll admit I was very skeptical about how these two newly trained dogs, both just a year old, would react to the first time traveling on an airplane and the inability to relieve themselves and eat food from the time we left Detroit until we reached Santiago.  It really is something to see, along with their masters Luis and Carmen and translator Natalia Molina, as they managed their way through check-in, crowds, new smells and settling into their seats on the plane.

The crew of American Airlines was extremely accommodating to all, including Ruby and Rex.  With cameras documenting like Hollywood stars, they proudly marched through the airport.  The entire time on the plane, Ruby and Rex both rested soundly with no fuss, a wonderful sign of great training by Sue Horn from Leaders Dogs for the Blind.

Once we arrived in Chile, it was apparent by the assembly of the media that this was news worthy for all of Santiago.  On hand was a Lions Club representative who proudly made me aware that the Lions Club has been a large supporter of the visually impaired since Helen Keller challenged the Lions to become ‘knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness’ in 1925.  Also there to greet them was a representative from Pedigree dog food that helped sponsor the trip.  The next two days were filled with the excitement of relatives getting to know the new family members and Rex and Ruby getting to know their new homeland of Santiago, Chile, an absolutely beautiful place.

Upon my departure, it was somewhat sad for me.  I had spent 25 days with Luis and Carmen in Michigan learning about their lives and watching their relationship grow with Ruby and Rex.  A guide dog may not be for everyone who is blind, but I can tell you that what Leader Dogs for the Blind does in Rochester Hills, MI will forever have changed the lives of Luis and Carmen, who now have a new loyal friend who is more than an aid in helping them get around.  It is their new best friend and in the world of darkness, a close friend is a great thing to have even if it has four legs and a tail.

Keith Famie
Executive Producer



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