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By Jim Price

Naomi Morrow works her Guide Dog, Button, along a sidewalk"From the first moment, we truly had a magical connection," said Naomi Morrow, of Westminster, Colorado. "The first thing Button did was sit down in front of me and lick my face, as if to say, 'I love you.'"

One of the biggest surprises was how fast she could get around. "Button works at lightening speed compared to how I get along with just a cane," she said. "It took us two days to match our speeds and find the right pace, and once we did, there was a total transformation. I already completely trust her. She knows the best way to go and keep me safe. It's wonderful to know that whatever is in the way, she'll take me around it. She makes me feel totally safe."

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), left her with some vision, but the disease is progressive and eventually she will lose her sight. However, she's not the kind to let anything slow her down.

As an accomplished sculptor who is visually impaired, her sense of touch is highly refined. And her Guide Dog Button is a delight to her fingertips. "I've been an artist for 13 years," she explained. "I work mostly in clay and recently had my first independent art show at a Denver gallery." She's also working toward a degree in social work. She volunteers with several groups, including brain injury survivors and developmentally disabled adults.

She has lived independently for the past 10 years, but now she has a partner -- Button. She said that getting used to a Guide Dog takes some time. "The 28 days of training was a challenge emotionally and physically. It's hard being away from family and friends, but it's also very exciting. I know my life will never be the same."

You can see Naomi's art at: www.artof2morrow.com.

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