Ask Keller - May 2005
Are you curious about some aspect of Helen Keller's life,
and haven't been able to find the answer to your question? Ask Keller
Johnson-Thompson, Helen's great-grandniece. This monthly column features
real questions from readers like you.
I'm wondering if Helen had a guide dog that assisted her?
Helen Keller had a lifelong love of dogs and always had at least one or two by her side. When she was a young girl, she even tried finger spelling, her only way of communicating, into her dogs' paws.
Although Helen had many dogs throughout her lifetime, she never used any of them as dog guides, as many blind people do today. But as she made her way through her gardens later in life, several dogs could always be seen at her side. Some of these dogs included a Great Dane named Belle, a Scottie named Darkie, German Shepherds, Collies, and even a Dachshund named Sunshine.
Helen's love for animals was so great that during many of her trips, pictures were taken of Helen and many different types of animals in countries all over the world. In the Helen Keller Kids Museum Online, you can see a picture of Helen with a Boston Terrier at her side.
What awards did Helen receive?
Helen Keller was perhaps the most decorated American civilian in history. She received an award in almost every country that she visited. Some of these awards included St. Sava of Yugoslavia, The Chevalier Medal from the French Legion, The Southern Cross from Brazil, and an Oscar for her role in "Helen Keller in her Story."
Perhaps her most thrilling moment, however, was in 1964 when President Lyndon Baines Johnson awarded Helen with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest and most distinguished civilian award. A year later, Helen was elected to the Women's Hall of Fame at the New York World's Fair.
Helen Keller continues to receive honors and awards, even more than thirty years after her death, and her work continues to inspire blind and sighted persons alike.
Do you think Helen Keller was one of the greatest Americans of the 20th century? Tell us why on the Braille Bug message boards.