Anica's story

When Anica’s eyesight deteriorated seriously in her mid-20s she had more and more problems getting out and about. She had never liked using a cane but wasn’t able to go without a mobility aid anymore, especially in the dark. Lassie, Anica’s first guide dog, has made a tremendous difference to her life – allowing her to become a professor and to adopt two very active young boys.  

Having Lassie has given me my independence back and the chance to chase my dreams.

Anica has cone-rod dystrophy, a condition which includes the loss of central and colour vision, and can’t remember a time when she had full vision. But things became a lot more difficult when her sight became significantly worse in her mid-20s.   

“With my cane I was so slow getting around and I had near misses with cars and many falls and injuries. I was anxious and my family were worried about my safety.”

Soon after finishing her studies, Anica moved to work in London with her husband Chris, so she also had to get used to a new job. Encouraged by her family, she found information about Guide Dogs on the internet and applied to be matched with a guide dog immediately.  

“The first time I met Lassie, she was low on confidence and close to retirement because her previous match hadn’t worked out. But we clicked straight away and the independence and happiness she has given me is amazing.” 

Anica has now been partnered with Lassie for eight years. During that time she has achieved her dream of teaching at a University. 

“I’m much more relaxed and less stressed with Lassie around and that’s really helped me to push on with my career. She guides me around the local area and campus. The students absolutely love her as well. She has her own Instagram account and even has her own gown for graduation ceremonies.”

In 2018 Anica and Chris also adopted two boys aged three and four, which might not have been possible without Lassie. 

I’m so grateful for people who leave gifts in their Wills to Guide Dogs. I had doubts about my future in my 20s, but having Lassie has given me my life back and that’s the greatest gift you can give.
Guide dog owner Anica sitting on a bench looking down at Labrador guide dog Lassie who is looking up towards her

Anica herself has decided to leave a gift to Guide Dogs in her Will. 

If you’d like to find out more about leaving a gift in your Will, and how you can do this for free, please follow the link below to find out more.

Anica and Lassie feature in the Guide Dogs legacy TV advert, ‘Where Will Your Gift Lead’, where you can see Anica presenting to her students with Lassie by her side.