Guide Dog User Lifestyle

So what is it actually like to live with and use a guide dog? So for this weeks post in honor of National Service Dog Month I’ll try to answer that question. But since I have no personal experience I found a couple of videos produced by Guide Dogs for the Blind that give some ideas of what it is like.

I also found this podcast interview with Bea Hawkins, 93, on her eighth Guide Dog. Listen in to this delightful conversation with a truly charming lady who is thoroughly in love with her Guide Dog. (12 minutes.)

Bea Hawkins Interview

I’ve learned so much over the past few years of being a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind about what it is like to have a guide dog but I still only have a glimmer of what it is like. Age related Macular Degeneration runs in my family so I could go blind in my old age. I hope that I will have the courage to learn orientation and mobility skills so that I could have a guide dog. I love the freedom and independence that a guide dog brings to it handler. That is why I’m a puppy raiser. I didn’t know that when I started raising. Then it was about being able to take my dog to places that pets can’t go. I still love that but it is more about being making a difference in the world in a positive way. I still love being able to take these puppies into all kinds of places. I also love getting to know each dog and enjoying their amazing personalities. But the real payback is the impact these dogs have on people’s lives.

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4 thoughts on “Guide Dog User Lifestyle

  1. Having a Guide Dog means that I CAN go out shopping on my own again. It means I CAN travel again. It means freedom from a cane that gets caught in every crack or hits every obstacle and does not tell you if or when the side walk shifts. It means I can use Garmin on pedestrian mode and travel on vacation to places I have not been before. It means walking with confidence like I did before loosing my sight.

    • You said that so well Sue, and I love that I could play a role in making it so that you CAN do all those things. It was just three years ago today that we put Apex on the truck to return to Guide Dogs for the Blind to learn how to be a guide dog. We were sad that day but also excited to see what is future would bring. And what a bright future he has with you as his partner.

      • Today we visited the classrooms and showed off our skills for Service Animal Month. The kids enjoyed being obstacles for us to maneuver around and Apex enjoyed a few extra “drive by pettings” as he moved thru the room. Pictures are wonderful. I am jealous-tempting to come now as I love the cooler weather & can not wait for it to get this far south.

      • Awesome that the two of you got to show off your skills for Service Animal Month! I bet the kids totally loved it and Apex too. I love the weather this time of year. It was a bit cold yesterday, only got into the 60’s but the rest of the week is 70’s working up to low 80’s for the weekend. And the colors in the mountains are glorious. The trees in the valley haven’t changed much yet. I wish you could hop on a plane tomorrow and visit us, that would be awesome but not very practical.

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