Dog Guides are life-changing heroes
A Dog Guide greatest impact is on those they've been trained to assist.
Helen Kitchen of Cambridgehas had a Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guide since the beginning of 1999.
“I wanted a greater freedom and independence in my lifestyle.” Kitchen used to be a White Cane user, but says that she was tired of relying on it to get around and constantly encountered obstacles. The first Dog Guide that was placed with her by Lions Foundation, a 90-pound Black Labrador, changed all of that.
“I went on my first solo walk with him,” said Kitchen. “I came back and I was so exhilarated because it’s the first time I had been out on the street with the dog by myself. I never realized the sense of freedom and independence you can get with a dog because you don’t even know those things are there anymore.”
The general belief seems to be that the Dog Guides are very much a life-changing sort of hero to the clients that they are helping out. Sergio Rossi of Toronto has had a Dog Guide for two and a half years and insists that his Black Labrador, Boss has changed his outlook after going blind.
““When I say he totally changed my life, that’s exactly what he’s done. It’s hard for people to understand,” Rossi proclaimed, admitting that his family has noticed the difference as well.
Rossi’s typical day consists of him and Boss taking the bus to the Keele St. and Lawrence St. Metro grocery store. Boss leads the way there helping Rossi get onto the bus and off. Once in the store, a clerk will assist Rossi to find what he is looking for. He has generally had no problems with taking Boss around, however he’s run into a couple of misconceptions while in his travels.
“The greeters, I guess they’re told no animals inside,” said Rossi, recalling an experience he had in Wal-Mart. “There are places where the management does not make the employees aware that working dogs are aloud in.”
“They’re not pets when they’re in harness.”
Sergio encourages anyone who has thought about applying for their own Dog Guides to go for it because the results are live changing.
“It’s totally a worthwhile program and I hope more people in my situation end up with a dog like Boss.”
Rossi and Boss, along with many others will be participating in the Purina Walk for Dog Guides this Sunday in High Park, which starts with registration at 10 a.m.
Source: Toronto Sun