Wednesday, March 3, 2010

We've Got Mail: Grateful Grad Sends Thanks

Elaine Harrison with Guide Carmel and baby daughter
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.

Forever Grateful,

Elaine Harrison with Guide Carmel


  1. I love posts like this! As a fellow alumni, my personal journey and transformation through this relationship with my dog and our school has been amazing. I have been helped by so many great people since my vision loss with little more than lint and glucose tablets in my pockets:) So yes, many thanks to everyone at GDB!!!

    Seth & Bamboo

  2. I also love posts like this. As a raiser, raising our first guide dog puppy, Remy, it's comforting to know that when we hand back the dog we have falling in love with, she will be loved just as much, if not more, by her new person. People tell me all the time that they could not give a dog back, but stories like this remind me of the service we as raisers are providing and how we can help change someone else's life.

    Thank you GDB for helping change our lives too.