Charles's story

Just before starting university, Charles’ eyesight worsened, and with a new campus and city to learn with his cane, he was becoming a recluse – only leaving his room to go to lectures. But after being matched with guide dog Carlo, the pair became known as the ‘dynamic duo’ on campus.

I don’t think my life would’ve been the same without Carlo, he has given me so much confidence and shown me that my sight loss doesn’t define me as a person.
Charles, guide dog owner

“I’ve had sight loss from birth. My dad has the same conditions, so I’ve never known anything different,” says Charles. He was born with Aniridia, meaning he does not have an iris in either eye and also has nystagmus.

“Right before I started university my eyesight deteriorated further. I was trying to navigate a new campus and a new city with my cane, but it was so hard. I was becoming a recluse - it got to the point where I wouldn’t leave my room except to go to lectures.”

“A friend of mine from college had applied for a guide dog, and after seeing the difference they made for her I applied for a guide dog in my second year of university. I first had to brush up on my cane skills, and then had a taster walk with a guide dog. I always say I felt like I was walking on clouds because I had no concerns, the dog was pretty much doing all the work.”

Charles was partnered with Labrador cross golden retriever, Carlo, in 2015. “Our golden moment came at my graduation; I was dressed in my gown, and I remember me and him walking across the stage and the room literally erupted. It was so loud, but Carlo was loving it, wagging his tail.”

Carlo is now approaching ten years old, and soon he'll be retiring. “For now, I’m enjoying the time I have with Carlo and I’m working with Guide Dogs to find out the best future for both me and Carlo when the time comes.”

I know there will be a gap between Carlo retiring and another guide dog, but I am more confident in general than I was at university before him. Carlo has given me the confidence to say I am proud to be different.