Written By: Christopher Malpas
Five years ago today a GDMI (Guide Dog Mobility Instructor) entered my life and started, what for her would be just a normal day at work but for me it was one of the most memorable days of my life.
It was on February 16, 2011 that I first started training with my Guide Dog Verity and since that day I have never looked back. I will always remember promising that I would not leave the house during my training period and spend as much time as possible both playing and bonding with my new companion. Two weeks of watching daytime television after training sessions, whilst Verity was sleeping took its toll because I also promised to stay away from the computer and not get involved in any work related issues whatsoever.
It took me about a week to learn to trust Verity in such a way that the GDMI could start dropping behind us so I could gain even more confidence navigating around the environment in a manner that was both safe for myself, my dog and obviously other members of the public.
Knowing that every other Guide Dog owner went through a similar experience never entered my head because at first I was wondering whether or not I would ever be able to trust a dog and regain my independence but five years on I can wholeheartedly recommend to any visually impaired person the benefits of having and owning your own Guide Dog.
In the five years that both Verity and myself have been together we have experienced several memorable moments and made lots of new friends both whilst out and about doing whatever I had in my diary or through social media where Verity has a very active Twitter account.
Verity is not just my Guide Dog, she is not just mine, she is an integral member of the family and is loved by everyone so I would like to send my heartfelt thanks to everyone connected with Guide Dogs who do sucha terrific job in breeding, training and caring for, not only our canine companions but also the visually impaired owners who rely on their Guide Dog for their independence.