I had my first contact with Guide Dogs last week, but no, unfortunately not to get a cute little retriever (that I want so badly to cuddle). Not only do they do the obvious guide dogs but also mobility training, advocacy and information services amongst other stuff.
My first appointment was to get to know me and what I might need. It's great because they come to you and help you become more comfortable within your own environment. We went for a walk on the streets around my home, and then I was asked if I wanted to try using a stick. I was a bit scared 1. what if people noticed me and 2. I thought I might look silly, but I realised how stupid these thoughts were and who cares what anyone else thinks?! Not me!
I'm glad I gave the stick a go it was really helpful and I didn't realise that when I walk I pay most my attention to the ground. It means I can look forward instead of watching my own feet.
Guide Dogs offer mobility training, where they come out to you and go through techniques to get around in your daily life. I have organised to do this as I thought I may not need everything at present but it is a good time to learn the skills and start practicing them.
Did I mention I ordered my own stick, yes and it's going to be PURPLE! (Very excited).
I highly recommend Guide Dogs, which are in every state in Australia. They are very helpful, compassionate and knowledgeable and I look forward to keeping in contact with the organisation.
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT
Guide Dogs Victoria
Guide Dogs SA/NT
Guide Dogs Tasmania