It is scary to think that I’ve been a guide dog owner for nearly 10 years. I always knew I wanted a four legged guide by my side but I never truly anticipated how much the confidence a dog gave me would change my life so dramatically.
It didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t get bailey, my first guide and suddenly become this independent person. It took time and I flourished at every step.
Every time I got lost, each moment of self doubt turned into an incredible partnership that enabled me to head to London on my own, something previously I never dreamt of doing along with so many other adventures we shared.
We lost Bailey this year but I’d like to think his legacy will forever live on in me and every last thing I do. He was strong when i wasn’t, sure when my brain didn’t know, he was clever and courageous and surprised me at every turn.
I’ll never forget walking from a pub in London after a day at Judd Street which is RNIB’s headquarters and the guy who was a cane user I was walking with was instructing which way to go. We were heading to King’s cross train station and had to head down some stairs which at the bottom angled strangely to the actual station entrance. The person I was with promptly said there’s no way he’s going to pick up the line but my Bailey did, having never been to London before let alone King’s cross and headed straight to the information desk. That moment, amongst many others was what built my confidence in that beautiful boy!
I was lucky enough to keep Bailey and that was in thanks to my family but to Guide Dogs uK who continued to support me and Bails in his retirement. When Bertie came along, I was so unsure how my partnership would be but that little labrador of ultimate cuteness has been a part of more changes that Bailey helped to shape.
My life is unrecognisable to me in such a positive way now. I work full-time, looking for a house, have lots of hobbies and social experiences I don’t think I’d ever have achieved with the cane. Having a dog is what works for me.
I said earlier, I wanted bailey’s legacy to live on through me. But I also want someone else to have a life changing Bailey. Guide dogs UK always talk about how life changing these canine companions are and I can testify to that. If someone can gain their confidence and make a positive impact to their lives by having a Bailey by their side then my Bailey’s memory will live on.
Most of you know I’m fundraising to achieve another life changing bailey. I recently assailed down the bell tower at the Trafford centre and am organising a family fancy dress party for the end of October along with other plans. If you would like to sponsor me please visit My just giving page and please like the A Life changing page on Facebook.