I am Jo. I am a Guide Dog handler, my trusty and much loved Guide Dog is a six year old black lab called Wiley.
Wiley is my second Guide Dog from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. He is a rather tall, long and lanky boy. He is not only a fantastic mobility aid but also an adored and constant companion. My life is so much easier and richer now Wiley is part of it.
I wanted to write a blog so I could have a record of the adventures the two of us get up to as we embark on our life as a Guide Dog and Handler team. It also means family and friends who live far away can keep track of what we are up to.
Wiley and I were under went our team training in July 2012. That means as of Nov 2016 we have been working together for four and half years. I look back at everything we have done together and marvel at how dramatically my life has changed since we were first matched.
To say we have shared a few adventures is an understatement. We have travelled far and wide, attending conferences, courses and enjoying a few holidays. We have been filmed and interviewed, appeared on Ready For Take Off a National TV show and featured in a video called A Gift of A Guide for Guide Dogs.
I have gone from working casually as a speaker for Guide Dogs to working permanent part time as a Client Feedback Officer. Not only that Wiley and I are now are part of a bigger family of four (alongside my partner and his gorgeous yellow lab Guide Dog called Yarrin.)
No matter how much things change, where we are or what we are doing I treasure that for now and always my two feet, and Wiley’s four paws, will walk together as we share one remarkable and special journey.
Public Service Message – Guide Dog Etiquette
As a Guide Dog handler I would be very remiss to not include a message about Guide Dog etiquette on this blog.
A Guide Dog in harness is working and concentrating hard, please do not feed, pat, talk to or distract the dog. Also try not to make the dog the centre of attention, always speak to the person and not the dog.
This is a personal blog, it only reflects my experiences with vision loss and working with a Guide Dog. Everybody’s experience with vision loss is unique to them – please do not make generalisations about blindness or vision loss based on what you read here.