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Four-Legged Help: Guide Dogs for the Blind



Four-Legged Help: Guide Dogs for the Blind
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.51

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    companionship, high-quality, communication, defect, administrator, organization, representative, commitment, behavior, groom, housebreak, gain, attend, volunteer, scraps, works
     content words:    Mariella Dibble, Scott Smith, With Scully, Eighty-eight-year-old Mariella Dibble, Guide Dog, United States, Guide Dogs


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Four-Legged Help: Guide Dogs for the Blind
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Caption: Mariella Dibble and her dog, Silky
 
2     Scott Smith of Tucson, Arizona, loves tandem cycling. His dog, Scully, goes with Scott to competitions. It might not sound unusual for a man to have a favorite sport like cycling and to bring his dog along. However, Scott's situation is not typical. Scott is blind, and Scully is his guide dog.
 
3     Scott began losing his sight when he was nineteen years old. Before he went blind, he loved bicycle riding. After he lost his sight, he did not ride for many years. Then, Scott's sister had an idea to help Scott enjoy his favorite sport again. She introduced him to a man with a tandem bicycle. This is a type of bicycle that two people ride together. It has two seats. The person in the front seat is the pilot. This type of bike riding requires good communication between the riders.
 
4     Scott and his new friend began riding tandem together. They trained for three months and entered a race. They won the Arizona state championship in 2005. Scott was so happy to be cycling again! He says, "Today, I'm in better shape than ever before, and that's partly a direct result of having my guide dog, Scully. With Scully, I'm able to go every place. I race with total confidence." Scully has helped Scott a lot.
 
5     Older people also benefit from having a guide dog. Eighty-eight year old Mariella Dibble has had three guide dogs. She has poor vision because of a birth defect. Her guide dogs have helped her a lot. She loves her current dog, Silky. Mariella says Silky is "wonderful. I'm hardly out of bed in the morning and she has done something to put a smile on my face."

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