Because she was deafblind, she never heard a dog’s joyous bark or watched a puppy exuberantly chase a ball. But she could feel the inquisitive nudge of a dog’s wet nose, or soft fur under her hand or a tired canine head resting gently on her lap. Love finds a way to communicate.
Dogs brought Keller joy, companionship and acceptance. From her childhood, through the years she attended Perkins School for the Blind and to the very end of her life, dogs were always by her side. And she doted on them all, large or small – from scrappy Scotties to dignified Great Danes to a famous Akita.
In her 1933 essay, “Three Days to See” in The Atlantic, Keller wrote about one of the first things she would do if she suddenly had vision: “I should like to look into the loyal, trusting eyes of my dogs…whose warm, tender, and playful friendships are so comforting to me.”
Here’s a look at Keller’s remarkable life, as illustrated by the dogs who shared it.
Quotes from “The Story of My Life” (1903) by Helen Keller; “Helen Keller: A Life” (1999) by Dorothy Herrmann; “Helen Keller: Selected Writings” (2005) edited by Kim E. Nielson; the Atlantic Monthly (January 1933); and the Evening Independent (June 27, 1967).