Written By Katie Cuppy
The bond between a blind person and their guide dog is something that is truly indescribable. It’s something you can’t fully grasp unless you have experienced it. I didn’t understand it until I met Gabrielle. It’s like no other relationship I have ever had with any other being. Having a guide dog means so much to me, and impacts my life in so many ways.
Having a guide dog means trust. I think the bond is so special and unique because it is built purely off of trust. I have to trust her abilities to guide me, safely navigate around obstacles, and respond to changes in our environment. She has to trust that I have the skills to confidently navigate our surroundings, give clear and consistent commands, and do everything I can to protect her health and well-being. We both have to trust each other’s judgement. We both need to trust each other to make the right decisions to keep us safe. We both need to trust each other with our lives.
Independence and confidence are two other aspects that make having a guide dog so incredible. No matter how confident I am with my skills alone, there is just something so special about the independence I feel with Gabrielle. I feel so confident in the skills we have as a team together. It feels like we can conquer anything together!
There is also an unconditional love shared between a service dog and their handler. No matter what, there is always someone by your side. Gabrielle and I have been a team for 5 years now! She has been with me through so many life changes and transitions. No matter what life throws at me, Gabrielle has always been there alongside me.
Having a guide dog has enriched my life in so many ways that I couldn’t even fathom before. We have experienced so much together! I have so many wonderful memories with her, and feel so lucky to be able to have such an incredible guide dog by my side everyday!