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Breaking down barriers, with a little help from man’s best friend

Darley Oliveira and his guide dog, Clark, are a dynamic duo

September 30, 2020

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Clark is a 3-year-old golden retriever with watchful brown eyes and a wide, pink-tongued smile. She’s also part of our team at our animal health division in São Paulo, Brazil.

Clark belongs to Darley Oliveira, who joined the company as an inside sales representative in February 2020. Darley, who has been blind since childhood, relies on Clark to help him navigate the world, including the journey from home to work and back.

An unstoppable team

Darley and Clark have been together since 2018, when Darley traveled to the U.S. to train through a program called Pilot Dogs, which matches guide dogs with the visually impaired. The pair spent several weeks working together in Columbus, Ohio, before heading back to São Paulo, where they’ve been an unstoppable team ever since.

A few months after returning home with his new companion, Darley expressed his appreciation for Clark on his Instagram account.

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“Only those who are guided by these pets can describe the feeling of freedom. Clark, thanks for giving me eyes. Thanks for donating your life for the sake of mine. We don’t walk the streets; we fly!”

Seeing beyond the disability “label”

Still, Darley tried not to get his hopes up before his interview at our company. 

“In our society, traditionally people see the disability first, not the person,” he explains. “In the past, I had interviewed at other companies and heard that I am very good, I have a lot of capabilities, but I am blind.”

“After joining the company, I realized that the culture was unique,” Darley says. “The company was living the principles it had set in place. ‘See beyond the disability label’ was something I experienced immediately.”

With Clark at his side (or relaxing under his desk), Darley is excelling in his new role. His job is to sell products to customers who haven’t purchased from our company in the past. As part of bringing Darley into the company, he was provided assistive technology for both his computer and mobile device.

Darley walking Clark
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“Clark not only facilitates the approach of people to me, she also creates a happy workplace and a light atmosphere. Having a dog every day in the office positively impacted the environment and people."

“Working in animal health, passion for animals is common to all and this reflects on Clark’s behavior,” says Darley. “Clark knows that everyone at work really loves her and she reciprocates this feeling.”

“Be the difference that you want to see in the world”

In April, they had a party for Clark’s third birthday, and the company’s annual “Dog Days” celebration is now a quarterly event so that all employees have more opportunities to bring their furry friends to work.

“It is one of the days people interact and engage even more!” says Delair Bolis, general manager of MSD Animal Health in Brazil.

In exchange, Darley and Clark have given those around them a new perspective on what it means to be visually impaired.

“Believe in your dreams, ” he adds. “Be the difference that you want to see in the world!”

Darley holding Clark in his harness