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JoAnna Lou
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Guide Dog Double Date
Inseparable pups help their people find true love
Two guide dogs at a wedding

There's no question that guide dogs are invaluable. These working pups help their people navigate the world and hold onto their independence. In 2012, two guide dogs in England went beyond the call of duty and helped their handlers find something incredible—true love.

Claire Johnson and Mark Gaffey met two years ago at a training class for guide dogs. Mark has been blind since birth and Claire lost her eyesight due to diabetes when she was 24. The two, both in their 50s, lived less than two miles away from each other in Stoke-on-Trent, England, but didn't know each other previously.

Their guide dogs, Venice and Rodd, both three-year old Yellow Labradors, were inseparable. Mark says they were always playing and nuzzling up together. Since the pups got along so well, Claire invited Mark out for coffee after classes ended. Soon coffees became regular lunches, and then dinner dates. 11 months after meeting in class, Mark proposed to Claire on Valentine's Day 2013 and they made it official two weeks ago. Venice and Rodd were of course in the wedding ceremony as ring bearers.

Mark never believed in fate, but can't deny that their relationship seemed meant to be. Claire on the other hand had no doubt that the pups brought them together. “Much like our two guide dogs, we really are best friends and soul mates.”

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by Guide Dogs for the Blind (UK).

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