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