(From left – right) Bracha Ben Avraham & Dinka, Lili Goldwein & Zita, Chief of the IDF General Staff, Lt. General Gadi Eizenkot, Dror Carmeli & Lynn, Hiyertin Demirkol & Lola, Elad Weizman, Uri Basha & Triton, Achiya Klein & Night

For the past few years six of our clients have lead the March of the Living in Poland, to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day. The 3-kilometer march is from the concentration camp in Auschwitz to Birkenau, Poland. It’s a recreation of the death march that Jewish prisoners were forced to take as the Allied Forces approached Auschwitz.

Why is it so symbolic to have blind Israelis using guide dogs lead the march? If you were disabled, the Nazi’s eliminated you immediately. In addition, they used dogs to hunt and intimidate us. Having six blind people – from Israel — lead the march with dogs that have been trained to help, is the perfect rebuke to the Nazis. We say proudly, “Not only did you not succeed, but here we are – Jews from around the world – who are thriving!”

This past year was extra special because the Chief of Staff of the IDF joined members of our group for the march. Two of our clients are former IDF soldiers – Uri Basha lost his vision in the Lebanon War and Achiya Klein lost his vision in the terror tunnels under Gaza. The march was very emotional for everyone who participated, and the dogs responded with an amazing amount of empathy. Each one comforted their partner when they felt the sadness creep in. This is what makes a “Partnership” so special between our clients and their 4-legged best friends. They support each other and provide unlimited love and companionship.

Group of 6 guide dogs

Six of our dogs at a previous torch-lighting ceremony