Looking at pictures of the early guide dog schools and their first students is a powerful experience. The blind men all wear trench coats and high peaked caps and you see they are feeling their way with canes, detecting stone curbs, their dogs sitting obediently beside them. They have that military posture of another century, an impossible uprightness. The photo says we’re seeing an experiment. These are the wounded warriors of the first world war, attempting to return to the land of the living with their animal escorts.
From “What a Dog Can Do: A Memoir of Guide Dogs” by Stephen Kuusisto, forthcoming from Simon and Schuster in 2014