Taylor's story

As her career as a vocal coach expanded, Taylor applied for her first guide dog in September 2019. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had other plans and her assessment was delayed. But Taylor says she never felt alone, with the support and training from her Vision Rehabilitation Specialist. And when she finally met her guide dog, the wait was totally worth it!

When I went on my matching walk with my beautiful Jilly I felt my world change.
Taylor, guide dog owner

When Taylor was two years old she was diagnosed a rods and cones dystrophy called Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA). “I always describe it as having a team of workers and only having ten as opposed to 100. So, it means that certain messages get through, and others don't - like my depth perception.”

“I did long cane training before secondary school, and then again after finishing my degree, because my day job is vocal coaching and that means moving about from place to place quite a lot.”

“As my coaching expanded, I was in a situation where I was being offered work, but I didn’t feel safe with my cane in the dark. I kept saying to my mum that I was almost turning down work because I was nervous, and I didn’t want to get a really good opportunity like a West End show and panic about getting there and back.”

“My mum suggested I apply for a guide dog. After exploring it, I decided to apply in 2019 after building up my vocal coaching work.’’

Unfortunately, COVID-19 lockdown meant Taylor’s final guide dog assessment was delayed. But Guide Dogs continued to support her, to develop her independent travelling skills, so she could get around safely.

“My Vision Rehabilitation Specialist, Sophie, kept in touch with me during the lockdowns and once they were lifted, she suggested we learn all my routes as though I already had a guide dog. We thought about places to cross and routes that would be suitable for a dog.

“After almost two years, when I went on my matching walk with my beautiful Jilly – a golden retriever cross Labrador - I felt my world change. I walked faster, stood taller and couldn’t stop smiling at her. Since then, through training, we’ve gone from strength to strength as we navigate as one.”

“Jilly’s allowed me to do things that I would never have felt comfortable or confident doing with a cane. Our partnership fills me with such hope and excitement because we're already a dream team.”