Missing Service Dog Reunited With Blind Owner

APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. – Michael Birenbaum depends on his German shepherd, Levi, to be his eyes in the world. Levi is not only Michael’s Guide Dog; he’s also his Service Dog, helping him live a safe and independent life as a Massage Therapist. Levi helps Birenbaum travel, avoid danger, and stay safe if cars don’t see him.

Michael has been legally blind since he was 11 after being accidentally shot by his younger brother, he stated to azfamily.com.

Birenbaum and Levi have been inseparable for more than two years until New Year’s Eve, when the dog was frightened by loud fireworks and ran away. Birenbaum waited outside all night for him to return, to no avail. However, since Levi is a service dog, Birenbaum was able to file a Missing Person’s report with the Apache Junction Police Department.

Thankfully, Birenbaum didn’t have to wait long to be reunited with his friend and companion. A woman just a few blocks away had found Levi. “We just see this dog come out from behind the cars out of nowhere,” Nikki Meza reported to azfamily.com. “When I saw his tags…you could see he was an important dog,” she said. “Somebody is worried sick about him and needs him.”

But because of the holiday, Meza had to wait until January 2nd to find out who Levi’s owner was. She then loaded the dog into her truck and drove him straight home, where he immediately ran into his owner’s arms.

A tearful Birenbaum told Meza, “This means the world to me. You brought my world back.”

Birenbaum said when he got the call telling him Levi had been found, “My spirits were lifted. I don’t know how to describe it…the sadness left my heart and I’m happy again,” he told FOX 10’s Dan Spindle.

Written by Dorinda Miller


  1. says

    The German Shepherds are so intelligent and learns so readily that it has been used as a sheepdog, guard dog, in police work, as a guide for the blind, in search and rescue service and in the military. It’s heartwarming to know that they have reunited.

  2. alison says

    It is so nice to read a story that brings happy tears to your eyes. A very special thank-you to the woman who brought the dog home to his Dad ( I don’t like the word master). God Bless all three of you <3

  3. Dog lover says

    Moved me to tears.. I hope Levi and his master have a long and beautiful life..wishing both of you lots of good time together in future..

  4. ahhgoosh says

    This is great news, but I’m wondering — if the dog was microchipped, wouldn’t the reunion have occurred a lot sooner?

    • Dave says

      Microchipping doesn’t mean the pet has a gps (usually). It still needs to be found, the finder needs to have the sense to take the dog to a vet and have him checked for a chip, and then his owner might be found. A Dogtag works much faster, if the finder is an upright person.

      • ahhgoosh says

        both my dogs are microchipped through different companies, and each has a tag with the company phone number and the dog’s chip number. My sometimes errant dogs have been found by people who called the microchip company, who then called me. Yes, ID tags of course. But this also works.

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