As a "partially sighted" / "low vision" woman living in a world that values what is seen by the eye above all else, I can honestly say that embracing my identity as a blind person and learning the skills of blindness have freed me to experience life on my own terms.
Learning to use a long white cane empowered me to carry my head high without worrying about the ground, because my cane would tell me what my eyes could not.
The second revolution in my life as a blind person was making the decision to travel with a guide dog. This provided even more freedom, because I could miss that crack in the sidewalk entirely and get to the back of a line with ease.
Both of my guide dogs, Thunder and Molly, not only helped me, but they also had their own sacred missions and touched countless lives. Both were Joy Dogs who, in vastly different ways, opened hearts.
When It was time for that horrible but necessary decision to say farewell to Molly, I thought I might not get another guide dog.
Then the reality of life without a trusted guide set in. While I still get around well with a cane, my life is so empty without a dog. While it's nice not having to walk a dog in the pouring rain or bitter cold, there's also no companion to help me deal with crowds and miss all those obstacles my cane finds that a dog helped me avoid.
So 18 dogless months later, I decided to apply for a guide dog from Leader Dogs for the Blind. It took 26 days to complete the application, which included a vide, 6 references, a doctor visit (which was a big deal because I don't do doctors), a vision evaluation (pointless as I'm no less blind than I was when I had an official letter from a previous eye doc), and a form so detailed I expected it to come with a cheek swab for DNA.
May 13th, I got word that I am accepted for a dog and will go to Michigan sometime, maybe July or August, to get my dog! It will be a whole new adventure for me as well as the dog.
Whereas I chose and trained my first 2 dog from puppyhood onward, this time a trainer will select the perfect dog for me. I don't know what breed or gender.
I am thrilled to surrender to this new adventure, and I love my dog with all my heart, even though I have not met him or her yet. Here is my love letter to my future Leader Dog.