Samara and Yuma
Growing up, Samara was nervous around dogs but, with support from her friends and Guide Dogs, Samara realised owning a guide dog could give her the freedom she craved. Yuma gives Samara the confidence to do everything she wants to do from routine tasks like working and shopping, to socialising with her friends and even competitive cheerleading.
As a child, the only dogs Samara was introduced to were guard dogs and she grew up with a fear of all dogs. When Samara left home to study criminology at university, she made new friends including some who had guide dogs. Slowly, as she got to know her friend’s guide dog Summer, Samara began to get over her fear of dogs. Summer was so calm and gentle that eventually Samara got used to her: “That was the turning point. If I was ever sad Summer would come over and rest, her head on me. I was like ‘Wow this is amazing!’”
Once Samara became comfortable around other guide dogs, she could see the freedom they gave their owners. She then applied for her own guide dog and was matched with Yuma while at university.
Samara recalls: “I met Yuma for the first time the day before my 23rd birthday. From the moment she came through the door at my student accommodation we hit it off. She had a toy in her mouth, and we played tug. I said, ‘Oh my God, this dog is so adorable.’ She was so affectionate right away, and she made me feel safe as soon as I met her. It was a feeling I’d never had before, it was just crazy. I loved it.”
Yuma was partnered with Samara at university. Yuma’s Guide Dog Mobility Specialist (GDMA) helped her learn all the routes she would need to get around the campus. She jokes: “I qualified in criminology and I like to think Yuma is qualified too!
“Having Yuma has given me an incredible feeling of safety, but also freedom and confidence. When I’m in town with Yuma people stop by to say hi, and all my friends adore her because she’s friendly and fun. When I go out to dinner with my friends, Yuma always comes too. Yuma is very patient, even when I’m shopping for clothes and perfume at the weekend.” Says Samara.
Samara is an avid cheerleader and is a member of the Momentum Rise team, which competes in the Momentum Cheer UK league. Yuma accompanies Samara to her team practice and to the UK cheerleading competitions too. Samara is excited to represent Great Britain at the International Cheer Union Competition in Orlando, Florida.
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