Welcome Back to the Four Paws Journey!
Glad you can join me once again to walk along side Kathy as she waits the many months to get her guide dog! I’m Harvey, and I’ll be your guide each week to give you some insight (sorry about the pun) into obtaining a guide from Guide Dogs for the Blind. So here we go!
Initial First Steps
In the first few months after receiving the diagnosis of blindness, Kathy began Mobility Training. With a white cane and a mobility instructor, she took to the streets of Fort Collins learning how to maneuver the sidewalks, intersections, and even the bus system.
Using an escalator was a bit of a challenge with a white cane, but her instructor was patient and understanding of all her “senior moments”!
Freedom With a White Cane
Many, many hours were spent with months of training with that white cane of hers, but it became a symbol of freedom, where she could sense elevation changes, various surfaces, and obstacles that could cause her to fall. Hiking around Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park with her white cane helped her “sprout new wings” in her flight to new vistas.
Kathy’s white cane allowed some freedom, but not entirely. As she walked in her neighborhood, low-hanging branches from trees in her path were hard for her to detect due to loss of her peripheral vision. Stability in her gait was a challenge, since MS has produced balance issues. The time had come to investigate a guide dog. She learned from other guide dog users that they felt empowered—-walking with a guide gave them increased confidence, independence, and companionship. Raising guide dog puppy, Gatwick, for a year also gave Kathy the knowledge of how a canine can change a life.
Follow along with us each week until the big training days in late October, when Kathy will fly to San Rafael, California, to the campus of Guide Dogs for the Blind. Click here to find out more about Guide Dogs for the Blind…and also to see some amazing pictures of puppies, stories of those whose lives have changed because of their guides, and read the 75-year history of the non-profit organization.
Kathy wants me to tell you that all this preparation for a life-changer chapter in her life holds a myriad of blessings from God….giving her hope and teaching her patience!
Wishing you HOPE today,
Harvey & Kathy