GDB client William “Willie” Smith and his guide dog Niner love a quick-paced walk. In fact, the two are so quick, they often leave friends in the dust!
“Having a guide dog has given me great independence. I can get from point A to point B not only safely but in record time. With that said, most of my friends don’t want to walk with me because they say I walk too fast,” laughs Willie. Niner suits his quick pace. “He’s a bullet,” says Willie smiling as he reaches down to pet Niner.
Willie is a recent GDB graduate who lives in Ketchikan, Alaska. Family, friends, and his job in public information with the US Forest Service keep him busy. “When a tourist comes to our center in Ketchikan, we give them information about Alaska as well as about the US Forest Service,” explains Willie, adding “the Forest Center represents the Tongass National Forest, which is the nation’s largest forest at nearly seventeen million acres.”
Niner is Willie’s third guide dog, and each time he has come to GDB for a new guide, he has been impressed with evolving training techniques that have a positive impact on his mobility and ease of working with a guide dog. “The community here is great. Everything is awesome and you get a lot of support. I highly recommend GDB to anyone who needs a guide dog.”
Willie also has high praise for the guide dog matching process. “All three of my dogs have been very good matches. I have no complaints. I don’t know how they do such a good job on matching, but they do. In fact, everybody is just wonderful to work with from the instructors to the kitchen staff and housekeeping. It’s just been a great experience!”
Willie also wants to recognize the volunteers and donors who make GDB’s mission possible. “To all volunteers, thank you for all the great work you do here. For all the donors, thank you! You are donating to a great cause and a great organization. I encourage everyone to keep up their support of Guide Dogs for the Blind because they do great work for everyone,” says Willie. To emphasize his point, he adds: “And I’m speaking from experience!”