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By Michela Massanti

Michela Massanti with DonnamaeEveryone loves my K9 Buddy Donnamae, a beautiful yellow Labrador Retriever, and she becomes everyone's friend after they meet her. She brings so much happiness, love and comfort to my life.

When possible, Donnamae goes everywhere I go. I enjoy hanging out with my friends, watching movies, and traveling. Since she is not a service dog, she is not allowed to go everywhere a Guide Dog is allowed to go with its partner.

I received Donnamae from the K9 Buddy Program at Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) when I was 13-years-old. The program matches specially selected dogs to become wonderful companions to visually impaired children and young adults.

I have been legally blind since birth and she is truly my best friend. Having Donnamae as my K9 Buddy for more than five years has taught me about responsibility and unconditional love.

I am responsible for feeding, grooming, and walking her as well as giving her attention and love. In return, Donnamae is always there for me and makes me smile and laugh on a daily basis.

I knew from the start that Donnamae was the dog for me and she has been a great addition to my life and family. Also, if I decide to get a Guide Dog later in life, Donnamae has helped me learn some basic skills necessary to care for a future mobility dog.