Who We Help
Bernie and his Dog Guide Noble, Wasaga Beach, Ontario
After losing his vision late in life, Bernie found himself feeling at odds with what he wanted to continue doing and the reality of his health. As an active member of the community, wood worker, and avid chef, Bernie decided he could not allow his vision to impede his pace of life. He discovered that his white cane could not compensate and slowed him down.As a long time Lions member, Bernie was familiar with the Canine Vision program and the school and knew that a Dog Guide would allow him to regain his independence.
Since graduating with his Dog Guide, Noble, and returning home to Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Bernie is back into his busy routine. “Noble is a perfect match for me; he aims to please, keeps up with my busy daily life, and most importantly he has given me back my confidence,” says Bernie.
Danielle and her Dog Guide Fallon, Anjou, Quebec
“Every day with Fallon is a gift,” says Hearing Ear graduate and Anjou, Quebec resident, Danielle. Since being matched with her Dog Guide Fallon, life has become a lot less stressful. “She has added so much to my life and happiness. I feel more secure and have greater self esteem because I no longer feel like I’m limited in what I can do,” she explains.
An active member of her community, Danielle attends a painting class twice a week in addition to volunteering for a local organization that promotes the well being of residents in retirement homes, always with Fallon by her side. The pair, along with a member of the OPP, tour retirement homes in Quebec educating the elderly about fraud and abuse, as well as what to do if they are being victimized. “I always receive a lot of compliments after the presentations from the police officers and residents about how well behaved Fallon is; she is such a wonderful companion,” Danielle says.In addition to being a great companion to Danielle during her weekly outings, Fallon has proven to be essential to Danielle’s safety. “Just last week a fire alarm in my building went off and I did not hear it, but Fallon did. She jumped up and nudged me towards to the door,” Danielle explains. “Isn’t that just amazing?"
Angela and her Dog Guide Digby, Victoria, British Columbia
After retiring her first Dog Guide, Yogi, Angela knew she could not live a life without the assistance of a Dog Guide. The time she spent between retiring Yogi and waiting to train with her new Special Skills Dog Guide, Digby, made her wonder how she ever got along without one before. “I found that when I no longer had the use of a Dog Guide, my independence disappeared. I had to ask others to help me all the time and that made me realize how vital having one is,” she says.
Now back in Victoria, B.C. with Digby by her side Angela has regained the confidence to continue on with her studies in psychology and photography. “This is a fresh start with a new Dog Guide, a new chapter in my life as a young adult,” she says .
Shaylene and Marley, Indian Head, Saskatchewan
Before travelling from her home in Indian Head, Saskatchewan to Dog Guides to participate in the Seizure Response program, Shaylene carefully weighed all of her options regarding assistance with her epilepsy. As a single mother to a three-year-old, she knew that surgery was not an option, “There is always the chance that you won’t come out of the surgery and I could never risk that; I’m all my son has,” she says.
After applying to Dog Guides and participating in the three week training program, Shaylene knew that she had made the best possible choice. Her dog guide Marley has given her back the confidence that had slipped away after her diagnosis. “I now live independently in my own house with my son, which is something that I couldn’t do before I had Marley,” she says. “He’s given me my whole life back, I’m no longer scared to do the simplest things like climbing the stairs,” she says .
Noah and his Dog Guide Argo, Kingston, Nova Scotia And Zachery and his Dog Guide Iris, New Albany, Nova Scotia
Meet Noah and Zachery, two young friends from the same region of Nova Scotia who share many life parallels: both have fathers in the Canadian Air Forces, both come from large families, and both were diagnosed with autism at an early age. Last December they added another thing to the list when they both received Autism Assistance Dog Guides at the same time.
Living with autism has presented many challenges to Noah, Zachery and their families. Lacking the ability to understand threats to their safety and unable to carry on conversations are some of their common daily hurdles. Both of their parents have dedicated countless hours to finding new ways to help their boys develop social skills and cope with their stress and anxiety.
Since graduating from the program, both parents have noticed positive changes in their boys. Noah has come from a non-verbal state to making gains in communicating with his Dog Guide, Argo. “Noah feeds Argo all of his meals, and through this routine we are introducing new words to him to help his communication with Argo,” says Alison.
A big accomplishment for Zachery has been his willingness and ability to sleep a full night in his own bed thanks to his Autism Assistance Dog Guide, Iris. Tammy, Zachery’s mother, also cites safety as an area of improvement. “The other day I was putting away some laundry when I heard Iris whining and found her at the door. I looked out and saw Zachery outside on top of a snow bank without his winter jacket or mittens. He had gone out without telling me, and Iris helped alert me to that,” Tammy says.