Dear Guide Dogs,
My boyfriend recently reminded me of how important it is to thank those people and/or places that have done anything that has influenced one's life. So, I was inspired to write a thank you note to Guide Dogs for the Blind, because GDB influences my life, every day.
I applied to GDB at the tender age of 17, but I had researched the topic of guide dogs since I was 8. I knew it was a lifestyle I always wanted to have, but I was terrified that I would never measure up, mobility wise. Through encouragement and through the help of some orientation and mobility professionals, I worked hard to hone my skills necessary for working with a dog. It took me a full year before I felt confident enough to attempt the home interview. Even after the interviewer left, having said kind words, I still felt that I wasn't good enough for GDB. However, when the email came stating that I had been accepted, I was thrilled beyond belief!
In August of 2005, I met my first guide on the California campus of GDB. I still kept thinking this was some sort of dream and that I would wake up, dogless. My first walks were hindered by a lack of confidence in my own skills, but through encouragement and reassurances from GDB instructors, I managed to get through those jitters. It's amazing how a professional and qualified staff can make a nervous wreck feel confident, so I have to say, thanks to them.
So now let's fast-forward to 2010. That faithful guide who I met in 2005 is still working now, leading both me and my child through whatever the physical world throws at us, with the fervour and zeal that makes her such a wonderful companion. We've been through harsh winters, multiple cities, traffic encounters, and the birth of a baby, and she is still the same consistent rock she's always been. She has a love for new challenges, a love for her work, and a love for each new day. Therefore, I want to take the time to thank GDB, as a whole, for influencing my life in such a complex way, through the dog that I trust not only with my life, but the life of my child, as well.
Elaine Harrison with Guide Carmel