What difference could you make?

Andrea with guide dog CaraThe transformation of a puppy into a guide dog is remarkable, but the difference they make to their owner is truly amazing.

Take Andrea and Cara. Andrea’s future has been totally transformed by her guide dog, Cara. Growing up partially sighted, she found her lack of independence and confidence prevented her from living life to the full. She couldn’t go anywhere alone.

But her life turned around when, at 15, she became the youngest person in the UK to have a guide dog. “With my guide dog Cara by my side I knew that this was the start of a whole new life. My grades picked up and I’ve now completed a degree at university. Cara is amazing in every way! She’s made it possible for me to be where I am today.”

Guide dogs not only help young people gain confidence and realise their full potential, but they also enable blind and partially sighted people to do the everyday things that most of us take for granted.

Dianne Woodford has been a guide dog owner since 2008 when she was partnered with her guide dog, Hattie - ‘a guide dog with attitude’ as she describes her! Between the two of them, they never stop, whether it’s taking her children to school, giving talks as a Volunteer Speaker on behalf of Guide Dogs, or Chairing the Beverley fundraising branch and coordinating all their activities. Dianne’s partnership with Hattie means that she can live life to the full.  

Dianne says, “Guide Dogs made a huge difference to my life. It means I can be a Mum again and take my children to school, without having to rely on anybody else. That means so much to me”.

And sometimes, our guide dogs go above and beyond the call of duty. Mike Townsend and his guide dog Tom were on their way to a meeting in London on 7 July 2005. Just moments away from Tavistock Square, they could have no idea how dangerous the situation was about to become.

This was of course the day of the London bombings. But incredibly, Tom remained calm after the explosion and led Mike away from all the sirens and chaos to safety.

Inspiring stories like Mike and Tom’s remind us why guide dog partnerships are so important. And why we’re aiming to create a third more of these partnerships by 2020. Gifts in Wills are crucial to Guide Dogs if we’re to achieve this ambitious goal.