I'll never forget the first time I met Alfred. He ran into the room, jumped into my lap and smothered me with kisses. Then he backed up, looked at me for a second, and then sat down right in between my legs. He was completely content! I knew at once I was going to love this dog. My heart raced with excitement, and my eyes welled with tears, because all of a sudden, I realized I was going to gain back my independence and live life the way I've been used to living it.
They say "seeing is believing," but for me, "believing is seeing." I never would have believed that I could so totally put my trust into a dog. But Alfred is that kind of dog. I know what to expect from him, and he knows what to expect from me. We make a great team.
I would never have believed I could have a dog that is so much like me. I'm a hard worker — I have a strong work ethic, and so does Alfred. When it's time to work, he gives it his all. We play hard, too — throwing Frisbee, floating down the river together, hiking! Likewise, when it's time to chill, it's time to chill, and boy does he love to chill out!
It's amazing to me that Guide Dogs for the Blind is able to provide these wonderful dogs and training completely free-of-charge. I'd like everyone who's blind to be able to have the exhilarating experience of walking with a Guide Dog.
When a car accident left me without my sight, I was thrown in all senses of the word. I had to learn to believe in myself again — to trust in my abilities. Well, I'm back on my feet now, and I'm putting all my trust into this wonderful partner.
One of my favorite quotes is from Winston Churchill. He said, "Never, never, never give up!" Well, with a Guide Dog like Alfred, there are no obstacles in our path.
What's in store for us? Right now, I'm in college, but I hope to get into leading adventure treks for at-risk youth and people with disabilities. I want to give back. I'd like to help others develop their self-confidence and enjoy the outdoors. And I have my partner, Alfred to thank for helping me regain my own confidence. Together, the world is our playground.
Life takes some surprising turns sometimes, and you never know where you'll end up. But it's easier with a partner guiding the way.