When I made the decision to apply for a guide dog, I never in a million years expected the extended family I would get to become a part of. When I told Chupa I was applying and jokingly said, “I should do a doggy diary”, I never thought that would become a reality, nor did I imagine the amazing people I would meet when she suggested a Blogger blog.
I started this blog to document my own journey. At first, I didn’t even know how to find other blogs. Again, it was Chupa who told me how to select blogs on the Google homepage and start searching. Slowly, it became a 6 degrees of Blogger or something lol! I found a blog of a puppy raiser, started visiting blogs in her role, started leaving comments, and things just began to bloom. I started meeting incredible people. It was so wonderful not only to find other guide dog handlers, but just other blind people. Part of the adjustment to going blind, was not feeling like I fit. Not having “people”. Being plunged into this new dark life without others who understood.
The first blind woman I met, was a friend of a friend and we began speaking on the phone. This was long before my Apple, so she was the first blind person I got to talk to. She had a guide dog from GDB and told me about the program and how I should do it and I furiously said no way, no how, not gonna do it. Haha!! It wasn’t so much the fact that she had a dog, but the fact that she was blind that made her such a joy to talk to. She understood. She got it. She went blind later in life too, so she really got the sense of loss. Unfortunately, when I called to tell her I applied to GDB, I received the unfortunate news that her guide dog had passed. Her dog worked for nearly ten years, and the passing was quick. It was her first dog though, and she is grieving, and will not return for another dog for quite some time, while she grieves her first dog’s passing.
I really deviated from the point of my post here. My point is that the decision to get a guide has led me to meet the most amazing people! And in this post, I want to focus on two of those people.
I don’t remember how Natalie and I met. If she found me or if I found her. I can’t remember. I just know that we formed an instant friendship, because she is sighted and her boyfriend Darrell, is blind. So we were drawn to each other since I am also in a sightie blink relationship haha! We have since started commenting on each other’s blogs almost daily. In fact, Natalie is the reason for the Doggy Countdown, because she said she missed my 30×30 posts hehe! I also started following Darrell’s blog. He has a guide dog from GDB named Egypt. I recently discovered that he is not writing much about his experience at school so as not to ruin it for me haha! He’s fairly new to Blogger too. And, he uses Alex. Sweet!
Natalie is a beginning puppy raiser for a school in Texas. The name escapes me. It’s been so fun watching her excitement as she embarks on such an important journey. Not to mention her interaction with Egypt and helping the team orient to places and what not. The relationship these two have is one of compassion and understanding, and she just reminds me of B in so many ways. Helping out when needed, but letting Darrell do things in his own way as he continues to bond with Egypt.
Darrel hasn’t been blind his whole life either, and Egypt is his first guide, so the similarities between my relationship with B and Darrel’s relationship with Natalie, is something really fun to watch.
So yesterday Natalie put up a post. She likes to make her titles a little unclear, so you don’t really know what you’re getting lol! I could tell it was going to be a long post about her day with Darrel so I locked my VO keys and settled back to read. Midway through, my hand was clapped tightly to my mouth and my eyes were filled with tears.
About a half hour later, Darrel’s post appeared in my feed. Knowing what it was about this time, I again locked my VO keys, and got to read about this experience from his perspective.
It’s not often that you get to read about a couple from each of their own perspectives. It was such a neat experience to “watch” events unfold through both their eyes.
I also recommend following these two’s blogs. We are all such a family here on Blogger, whether we’re blind, sighted, guide dog handlers, puppy raisers, cane travelers, service dog handlers, mothers, writers, photographers, professionals, retired or just blog addicts.
What a blessing that we can all be brought together over the airwaves, across the country, across the border, across the ocean.
Oh yeah, 25 days hehehehe!