I felt free for the first time

Guiding Eyes grads Danielle and Willa by June 2014 graduate Danielle Burton

Willa is my first guide dog and she has already begun to change my life.  I applied for a guide dog because I felt that traveling with a cane was too slow and time consuming.  I was also very nervous when crossing streets by myself because I am deaf-blind and I was afraid I not hear a quieter car approaching while I crossed the street.

Two days after I got Willa, we went on our first walk together without being attached to the instructor.   I felt free for the first time in my life.   I was amazed and thrilled about how fast I could finally get from one place to another without getting lost in parking lots and getting tangled up in all the obstacles on the sidewalks.  By the time I returned from my walk and Willa took me to the door I was in tears of joy.

No words can describe how it feels to be able to move through my environment without worrying about every single obstacle in my way.  My dog guides me around the things that would have normally tripped me up when I use a cane.

Now with Willa beside me I feel more confident in traveling and can truly enjoy traveling instead of feeling like it’s a chore.

I plan on having many adventures with Willa… I can finally let go of my fears and go wherever I want to go.