Contributed by Megan Miller
Please enjoy another great post by frequent No Bones About It contributor, GDB alumna Megan Miller.
Since I received Pasta from GDB in January 2008, my life has not been the same. She has expanded my world in so many ways I never dreamed possible. The confidence she gives me is overwhelming, and she never ceases to amaze me with the things she does. From the very first time she took me back to the dorms when I was lost, without me giving her any direction other than to say “Let’s go home,” I knew she was special and that we’d have a long, amazing partnership. Now, we have entered a new, exciting chapter of our lives together.
Almost two months ago, I moved out of the dorms and into my very first apartment. I was excited and nervous to be on my own, but I was so glad Pasta would be sharing the experience with me. With her, I’m never alone. Our neighbors here are great, and they all love Pasta, of course. Who wouldn’t love Pasta? One of my neighbors even taught us how to walk to the vet which is three and a half blocks away and pointed out a pet store next door, both of which we have traveled to independently since.
A little over a week after moving into our new apartment, we got an addition to the family. I adopted a then 10-month old, one-eyed kitten named Tofu, and he and Pasta have become fast friends. Tofu greets Pasta and I every day when we return from work, and Pasta happily wags her tail at him. They have even slept together. Pasta has been a great big sister to him.
Pasta and I have gone to many places independently, something I would have never felt comfortable doing with just a cane. Every day, we walk a little over five blocks to the bus stop and go to campus where I work and go to school. I never rode the bus alone before I got Pasta. She always gets me there safely, crosses the streets with ease, and she has markedly improved on dog distractions.
Besides walking to the bus, we have also walked to other places. In addition to my neighbor helping us, some friends walked around with us, and our field rep came out and showed us around the area, too. So far, Pasta and I have gone to five different places by ourselves, including my first time ever independently grocery shopping!
One day, I needed to go to the bank near my apartment after work. To make sure I got there on time, I took the local paratransit there. However, I decided to walk back to my apartment when I was finished. I had never been to this bank before, but knew what direction it was from my apartment. With my GPS and Pasta, we walked the mile plus back home. At least half of it, I’d say, was completely unchartered territory for us, but Pasta handled it like the pro she is, cruising across complicated intersections as if we’d been there every day. It was a very liberating journey.
Since, we have walked with my boyfriend, who is also blind, to a café my field rep showed me and a nearby Thai restaurant I had only heard about, as well. We didn’t take the GPS with us to the Thai restaurant, just looked up where it was, and off we went. Once we got in, we got asked about Pasta, but once I pleasantly explained she was my guide-dog and was allowed everywhere I was since I couldn’t see, things were fine, and we were seated.
I always knew Pasta was great and that my life would be remarkably better because of her, but the last two months have even further solidified this in my mind. The freedom, independence and confidence I feel because of her are beyond words, and I don’t feel I have even fully captured it here. So thank you GDB, and thank you puppy-raisers, for providing us with such amazing animals. We can never really thank you for what you have given us with these dogs, not just the ability to “see” the world but the honor of always having a best friend with whom to share our experiences.