If you ever doubted the impact of your support for Guide Dogs WA, this story will serve as a reminder that donations really do make a difference. A life-changing difference!
Three years ago, we released the story of then 14-year-old Tegan who was dreaming of the day she would be able to apply for a life changing Guide Dog.
Tegan was born blind, due to a rare condition called Leber Congenital Amaurosis. Because of her condition, Tegan’s retinas don’t function, so she has never seen the world around her.
At the time, Tegan knew that a Guide Dog would help her achieve independence.
This dream has now come true for Tegan.
At the age of 16 Tegan become the youngest ever Western Australian to receive a Guide Dog.
That’s right. Tegan now has a new loyal companion by her side: Guide Dog Loui, a most handsome black Labrador.
Since they were matched earlier this year, the two have become inseparable. And Loui has opened a whole new world of independence for Tegan, just as she imagined when she was younger.
And now, Tegan is revelling in her newfound independence with Loui by her side.
Tegan says she was super excited, but a bit nervous, when she was first matched with Loui.
“It’s a big responsibility and there was a lot to learn in the beginning,” Tegan acknowledges. “But now, I’m really confident with him and know that he will listen to me when in harness.”
When asked if Guide Dog Loui has opened a new world of independence? “Absolutely!” says Tegan.
Loui accompanies Tegan to school classes and her many extra-curricular activities such as swimming. Tegan competes at a state level in swimming and hopes one day to compete in the Paralympics.
With Loui by her side Tegan can also now go to the shops by herself and meet her friends without having to rely on her parents to drive and accompany her everywhere.
“I can even get an Uber or wander around the campus on my own. It’s really great to have such independence,” she said.
Your donation will help us to support and train more Guide Dogs like Loui.
Your donation will help to pay for food, vet care, one-on-one training and accessories such as beds, brushes and leads. It will also help to equip our Guide Dog Trainers with the tools and equipment they need to teach and nurture the 37 puppies and dogs-in-training to grow into confident, capable and loyal working dogs, just like Loui.
Will you make a life-changing difference to Western Australians living with blindness or low vision this festive season?
Please make a donation to help raise and train more remarkable Guide Dogs just like Loui.
Thank you for helping to make dreams come true!
Photographs of Tegan with Guide Dog Loui by C Smith Photography.