Glenda spoke to our group about what caused her blindness (RP) and how her loss of sight has progressed over the past 30 years. She describe how she went from doing the "Glenda Shuffle", to caning and then to Wendy, her first guide dog. She described the differences in using a guide dog verses a cane. She also told us about the application process for obtaining a guide dog. She described "dog day" and what her experience was like training with Wendy in class. She talked to us about the bond that exists between a blind person and their guide dog. She described the difference Wendy has made in her life in the short time they have been together. Glenda also expressed her appreciation for all puppy raisers for doing what we do.
An interesting discussion came up about the blind population in general. Glenda explained why some of the people who receive our dogs seem to have a negative outlook on life due to being blind. Some people adjust to this better than others, and many of these people are scared from the way they have been treated growing up blind. She told us that some blind people do not have the social graces sighed people are use to, and she told us why this happens. Some blind people get stuck in the negative, but many have become very positive people. She said those that are positive are called "Beautiful Blinds". Well, that describes Glenda perfectly. Glenda also pointed out to everyone that even if the person who receives your dog is not warm and fuzzy, it doesn't mean that they love the dog any less, or that the dog will make any less of an impact on their life. This was a very important topic to bring up because a family in our group just had an experience where the graduate did not want to meet them, and they didn't receive so much as a simple thank you. Ouch! But Glenda reassured them that their dog is making just as much of an impact on the graduates life. Still, it was very hard because the primary raiser was an 11 year old child.
Glenda then opened it up to a question and answer format, and raisers had the opportunity to ask her anything they wanted to. One of the raisers asked her what is one thing she wished the puppy raisers and the instructors would have done differently. She said she felt we both did an excellent job with Wendy and she most appreciated the love we gave to her. She said she would never blame a puppy raiser or and instructor for anything her and Wendy had to work on. Her and Wendy are a team, and it is now her responsibility to manage any problems they might encounter. Yes, she is a Beautiful Blind! (Wendy thinks so, too!)