guide dogs

Getting Started With The Guide Dogs

Happy Friday bookish people! I hope you’re all having a good day today. Okay, so I know I usually post bookish related posts on Fridays, but I thought it might be interesting for other people, especially people who are visually impaired and who might be thinking about getting started with guide dogs to know what has happened so far in my process.

For today I am going to talk about what happened when I first got in touch with the guide dogs team.

So, I began this process back in November 2021. It had been on my mind a lot for the past year or so and I’d often had family members and friends say to me ‘why haven’t you applied yet?’ especially as my sight started to get worse and I lost the sight in my left eye. For me it was one of those things where I hadn’t accepted it, I didn’t want to accept that this was how I was always going to be now. I’d never had good sight but each time I lost a bit more it was like everything had to change and it got pointed out more often how much help I needed. I often felt like I was just another job on everyone’s list because it wasn’t just I’m going out to see my friends anymore, it was always I’m going out but I have to be with at least one person and they have to look after me and it was talked about all the time like ‘look how much I have to do to look after you’, that’s the way it always felt with people. So I didn’t want to accept it, I’m not happy about it accepting it now but it came to a point where I just said to myself, look at yourself and admit that you need to see what other types of help could be out there for you. That’s when I got in touch with Guide Dogs.

The way I did it was through an online form on http://www.guidedogs.org.uk on the getting support page. From there I had to wait for someone to get back in touch with me by email. I have to admit, I forgot a little bit that I had put in the form until the email came, even though it was only a few days. When I did get the email is when all my anxiety started to kick in, I had to book in a telephone conversation – the first of two official telephone conversations as it turned out – and I absolutely hate talking on the phone. I can’t hear properly and I get really flustered so I didn’t really want to do it. But deep down I knew that I had to.

The day of the first phone call I was very nervous and it ended up taking about 50 minutes. There were questions about my medical history, what my eyesight is like and also what I was actually looking for from this service. I originally didn’t know that there were other services they would offer other than the guide dog but I wanted to go into the whole process with a completely open mind and that’s what I told them, I only wanted to go through with the whole process if it was definitely the right thing for me.

So, the first phone call happened and it felt good to discuss why I was starting the process with someone who had no bias on the outcome. The next step was having the second phone call which was with a member of the closest team to me which happened to be Exeter. This phone call was pretty much the same questions but more in depth if that makes sense. The phone calls were basically making sure they had all the information about me they needed to be sure that I had a visual impairment and that they would have services that could help me.

After the second phone call came the first in person meeting, which I will be posting about next Friday!