I met my guide dog, Fiji, just less than 11 months ago. You know, I can hardly believe it – in some ways it seems like such a brief span of time … And in some ways it feels like she has been an integral part of my life forever!
Here’s a few of the things that have changed since I got Fiji:
- I’m going places and doing things I’ve never done on my own before – like walking to the local Woolworths, catching Ubers, and getting out and meeting people from our community as we walk around in our neighbourhood. I can now even arrange to meet friends and colleagues at our local coffee shop… without having to ask them to come and fetch me. It’s great!
- We’re getting more exercise – having a young, energetic, and somewhat demanding, guide dog means Fiji and I are out walking at least 3 or 4 times a week. She also joins Craig on a run once or twice a week, and due to Fiji’s boundless capacity for play, our Golden Retriever Emily also gets a lot more exercise. Maybe Fiji’s secretly in cahoots with Discovery Health!
- My levels of self-confidence have grown hugely – this has had such a profound impact on my life that I’m going to write an entire post on it in the next while, but let’s just say that the self-confidence I’ve developed through working with Fiji has touched virtually all aspects of my life and leave it at that for now.
- My dress sense has changed – I know this may be hard to believe. I mean, how on earth could a dog impact on the clothes I wear? It’s actually fairly simple – before I got Fiji my only requirement was that clothing had to be comfortable. Well, that’s not strictly true –the clothing also had to fit me and look okay, but I don’t think those should count as criteria as they are pretty obvious. However, since working with Fiji, I’ve also had to ensure that I can attach a treat-bag to my clothing, and that means either wearing a belt, having a defined waistband, or accessories that I can clip the treat-bag to. Sometimes I’ve even had to clip the treat-bag to the shoulder strap of a handbag, which isn’t ideal, but at least it works. So this has become another of the criteria I use when shopping for clothing.
It seems crazy to think how much my life has been changed by a 2 ½ year old blond Golden Retriever cross Labrador who weighs in at less than 30 kg, but it’s true… and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world!