Grace and Molly's story
Six-year-old Grace, from Bo'ness in Scotland, was born with Leber Congenital Amaurosis, resulting in her being completely blind from birth. Read how Grace's world has completely opened up since buddy dog, Molly, came into her life.
While Grace was growing up, there were many challenges for parents Amanda and David, but with support from services, they continue to overcome these as a family. Grace's mum, Amanda said: “It affected us in such a big way at the beginning. Your whole world is turned upside down when you find out, and we had to improvise. I have an eight-year-old son, so we had to find other ways of learning for Grace.
“We originally heard about Guide Dogs through the Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired that Grace has had through school and nursery. Someone from the Falkirk Sensory Centre came out to do an assessment. This was a few years back, and at the time, we thought Grace was possibly just too young. Now that buddy dogs are back, we decided to go on the waiting list and were impressed at how quickly it all happened.”
Amanda and David applied for a buddy dog at the end of January, and on 19 March, they welcomed Molly into their home as the newest member of the family!
Amanda continued: “When Molly came in she seemed to be so settled. We were a little concerned it would take longer as we have two cats, but Molly wasn’t fussed! She’s quite a quiet dog. Of course, she likes to have her fun, which our eight-year-old loves, but Grace herself is quite quiet too so it really suited her to have a dog who didn’t jump all over her. Although it takes Grace a wee while to get used to things, the bond is really getting there."
Grace is now enjoying the many benefits of having a buddy dog, and helps to feed and brush Molly. However, the family have been delighted at their daughter’s new love for the outdoors.
Amanda said: “Molly has opened up a whole world outside for Grace that she never had before. Before Molly, she was reluctant to go out. Grace now loves the beach and Molly is there by her side, even if she doesn’t like to get her paws wet! Even when we’re out for a walk in the community, more people stop to chat and are interested to know how Molly helps. Grace is desperate to take Molly into school once lockdown is over, as all her friends nearby are always out to see them when we pass by their homes!”
For those thinking of applying, Amanda said: “Definitely go for it. Molly has been such a life-changer for us as a family. We’re outdoors a lot more and spend more time together as a family. It’s amazing and they really are great dogs. Molly is now a big part of our family!”
An excited Grace also said: “I really love having Molly. She helps me to have lots of fun and I am always laughing when I’m with Molly, like when she is rolling around in mud!”