At the end of January 2018 a cream coloured labrador cross golden retriever by the name of Tatum opened up my world.
I am blind and had been waiting for this moment since 2016 when i went on the wait list for a guide dog at Guide Dogs Queensland in Australia. I had been losing my eyesight slowly since around the age of 10, and had reached a point where a guide dog would be a really great fit. I had been using a white cane to get around and had grown tired of using an obstacle locator. By the time Tatum came into my world, I had test walked many potential matches, and had almost given up hope. But then I tested Tatum and finally my Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI) announced we had definitely found a match. The GDMI called the next month to lock in a class date and let me know I would be doing home training.
The day Tatum arrived, I was so excited, I knew I was really getting back my independence. I was waiting in the lounge by the front door to my home at the time, I was so excited, but I was also really nervous. The first day is filled with so many emotions.
From that day, I underwent what was two exhausting and intense weeks of home training to learn how to work as a team with my new best friend. Words don’t do justice to how intense and exhausting those first two weeks are as a team.