What Can Man’s Best Friend Do?

March 22, 2019
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 17: EDITORIAL USE ONLY Guiding Eyes for the Blind President and CEO, Thomas Panek, runs the first ever 2019 United Airlines NYC Half Led Completely by Guide Dogs, with Gus on March 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Guiding Eyes For The Blind)

It seems like dogs are doing a lot these days, even helping people complete half marathons. That’s right! Thomas Panek is a marathon runner, and he just completed the New York City Half Marathon on St. Patrick’s Day. But he didn’t complete the race because he had the luck of the Irish on his side; he had his three Labradors, Waffle, Westley, and Gus! You see, Mr. Panek is legally blind. When he lost his sight due to a genetic disorder in his twenties, he also thought he lost his ability to run. After all, it’s hard to run when you can’t see where you’re going, right? But he persevered. He began running with people as his guides (he completed twenty marathons that way!), but he loved the freedom of running with a guide dog even more. He began training dogs to race with him and completed his first half marathon earlier this week with his three dogs taking turns guiding him a mile at a time. Congratulations, Mr. Panek, Waffle, Westley, and Gus!