Thank you… from our March 2013 grads
On behalf of our graduating class, March 2013, we want to extend our most sincere and heartfelt gratitude to the staff and volunteers of Guiding Eyes. From the groundbreaking science being used at the Canine Development Center which ensures each Guiding Eyes dog has the best opportunity for a full and productive life; to the puppy raisers who dedicate so much of their time to preparing these amazing animals for the myriad situations they will encounter working with a student; to the trainers who work tirelessly to not only teach the dogs what they need to know, but in whose training we, the receivers of these dogs, place our trust and safety; to the support staff who keep the facilities clean, the computers running, and all of us healthy and very well fed.
Each of us came here with a unique background, outlook, and set of challenges and strengths. The last nineteen days have led to extraordinary transformations which none of us ever expected. Some of us come for a life where we move slowly and carefully, never sure enough of ourselves and our abilities to feel comfortable when traveling. Now, though, each of us is brimming with confidence and security, whether navigating a route we know well or going somewhere we’ve never been before. Some of us arrived at Guiding Eyes feeling like a disabled person in every sense of the word, but will be leaving feeling that we have not just caught up to our sighted peers, but that we have, in many ways, surpassed them. We can go anywhere, meet any challenge, and overcome any obstacle, and every ounce of our new-found confidence, courage, and spirit comes from the incredible companions we have each received.
We all look forward to the doors that will be opened to us upon arriving home. Our dogs enable us in more ways than just the physical, though: they help us to become better people overall. They help us walk quickly and confidently, which, in turn, lets us feel better about ourselves and be perceived as not blind people at all, but rather as a person walking like anyone else, but with a dog. They not only let us go anywhere, but they open the way to conversations with people we may otherwise have never encountered. They let us see more and do more physically, but they also show us things about ourselves and facilitate changes we never knew we could make.
Simply put, no amount of thanks can repay all of you who have given to this school. Our goal, therefore, is to live as full and rich a life as we can, and we hope you know that we could never have done so without these dogs.