Submitted by Dawn Benbow
Dawn has entered the following essay about the relationship she has with her Guide Dog Baskin in a "Dogs Change Lives" essay contest. If you'd like to vote for Dawn and Baskin's story, please visit http://dogschangelives.org/index.php/stories/entry/dawn-and-baskin/
In August of 2007, I boarded a flight early in the morning taking me to Oregon to meet and train with a very special dog. When I met him it was love at first kiss. I sat down in the trainers' office, my ears straining to hear anything from the dog that I knew they had for me. When the trainer brought Baskin over to me, he sniffed me once, and then the kisses started! As he kissed me, and I hugged him I knew this was going to work.
That feeling was solidified when we had our first walk together. He guided me so well, and we worked together with a flow and grace that I had not expected to happen for months. That's when I was certain this was the perfect guide dog for me. That feeling has only been strengthened through our years together as a working team.
Because of Baskin, I am able to do all those everyday things that every mother does with her children, with just as much dignity and independence as any sighted woman. On our first days home, we began the daily mile and a half trek to and from my daughters school so that I would be there to meet her and walk her home at the end of her day in kindergarden, just as all the other parents of the boys and girls in her class did. Her father worked, so this was my job as a stay at home mom. Being there to walk her home, volunteering in the classroom, talking about dogs, and guide dogs. Baskin was my eyes for all of it, and the kids' favorite thing to see at the end of the day. I would hear them say to each other and their parents "That's Bridget's Mom, don't pet her dog because he's working. Some dogs have jobs!"
Baskin guides me every Sunday at church, and he guides me through stores, the mall, parent meetings, and everything else in my life. He's always there when I need him, when I'm not feeling well from my asthma he'll always find a way to make me laugh. He is my four legged son and an important part of the family. He gives me unconditional love, and teaches all of us what that looks like. He soothes my kids when they get upset, he makes us laugh, and above all and most important to everyone he guides me through the world, acting as my eyes, with even more grace and confidence then we had on that first day together.
Having Baskin at my side has increased my confidence to move through the world as I do, knowing that as long as I have this wonderful companion with me, I am never alone and always have another pair of eyes watching out for me where ever we go, and whatever situation life may present to us. We can travel through it all working together as a team.