KIM Ritchie owes a lot to her seeing eye dog Obama.
He gives her independence, confidence and makes it safer for her to travel on her own.
Born completely blind, it is a friendship only Ms Ritchie and Obama know.
"I wouldn't be where I was without him," she said.
"He guides me around and makes sure I cross the road safely.
"He breaks down the social barriers.
"The bond, (we share), I can't explain.
"There are no words."
Ms Ritchie first met Obama about three years ago.
Before that she had two other guide dogs and used a cane.
"(Having a seeing eye dog) has made life so much easier," she said.
"Yes, you can fold up a cane and put it in a backpack.
"It doesn't have to be washed or fed twice a day but when you are walking down Mitchell Street and people are walking towards you with headphones in, a dog is able to guide you around them."
Community members attended an information session in Bendigo yesterday put on by Seeing Eye Dogs Australia.
The dogs work with clients on a daily basis to safely navigate them while out in public.
Visit www.visionaustralia.org for more information about Seeing Eye Dogs Australia.