Sunday, June 26, 2011
Run, Kelev, Run: Blind Israeli Runs in New York Marathon to Promote Service Dogs
For Gadi Yarkoni, dogs are more than just “man’s best friend,” they are also life saving companions. Fifteen years ago, Gadi thought he had lost everything when a bullet took his eyesight in Lebanon. Then, the first of three seeing eye dogs entered his life. His current guide dog, Timmy, is a black lab as smart as he is beautiful (pictured above). Aided by his new companion, Gadi’s freedom was restored. Thanks to a remarkable animal and friend, he had his life back.
On Sunday, November 7th, Gadi did what he never thought possible, he ran New York’s infamous 26-mile marathon, raising money for Israel’s Guide Dog Center for the Blind, the nonprofit organization that introduced him to the benefits of service dogs.
The Guide Dog Center for the Blind was founded in 1991 by Noach Braun, who completed this year’s marathon alongside Gadi. Before 1991, Israelis who required the aid of service dogs had few domestic options, and would need to travel to the United States. For almost two decades, Noach and his wife Orna have been providing furry companions at no charge to hundreds of people in need. The dogs, fluent in Hebrew (don’t try asking them to “sit” in English), take two years to fully train, at a cost of $25,000 to the Center.
This year, over 45,000 runners took part in the New York Marathon. Gadi came in at the 8,235th place overall and 1,411th in his age group at a time of 3:44:05. Considering the traffic in New York (not to mention the state of the subway on Sundays), that’s a pretty decent commute time for 26 miles (40km).
Click To View Video