guide dogs

Guide Dogs: First meeting in person

Happy Friday bookish people! I hope you are all having a good day today. I am back talking about what happened next in the process of getting a guide dog.

Last week I talked about how after first getting in touch with guide dogs I went through two telephone conversations to discuss if this would be the right thing for my needs. Then came the fist meeting. I had a woman from the Guide Dog team visit me at home to see how I moved around in my local area. I felt a bit like a dog myself, going out for walks with someone watching everything I did. It also felt like a test which put me on edge, I guess it is like a test actually because they are seeing if you have the need for a dog, well whether one would actually benefit you and it is a process that needs a lot of boxes to be ticked. You have to be able to walk at least 40 minutes a day to prove you could work the dog because it would still need to be walked and it would still need to play and go on free runs and things like that.

When the woman arrived we went straight into the walking portion of the meeting where I had to walk a route that I would often walk and show how I would use my cane and how I would avoid obstacles. It felt really intense but that’s just because I don’t like being watched or bringing any attention to the things I’m not able to do so it was a difficult meeting for me, but the woman was really lovely and it is very clear that they only want what is best for you.

After the walking there were more questions to answer and there was this questionnaire where you had to give yourself marks for how much you struggle with different activities and that was probably the worst part for me, it feels like you’re reminding yourself of how hard your life is when on average you spend most days ignoring it because that is your life, you don’t usually break it down into categories, you just get on with it because you don’t have a choice.

Something I learned from this first meeting was not to force yourself to try and see the obstacles, you just have to be completely honest about what you can and can’t do because they need to know what areas you need the help in. One of the biggest areas for me was confidence, and being independent.

After this meeting it was decided that I had enough of a need for the services and my case went to it’s first panel. I got a phone call the afternoon of the panel day where they let me know that it was decided I should continue in the process and I would receive a phone call anytime within the next month to book in a date to have a meeting and a walk with an actual dog. It was a strange experience to let an unknown panel of people decide if I really needed the help I was looking for, it’s like putting your whole future in the hands of these people. I don’t think I would have been upset exactly if they had said I shouldn’t continue but it would have been a bit awkward.

In next Friday’s post I will be talking about what happened in my first meeting with a guide dog.

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