Two years ago Jackie Perfect underwent a cataract operation to improve her vision, only to lose her sight less than six months later from type two diabetes.
Once a fully independent and social grandmother, Jackie also worked full time at a local day care and was an active member at her local craft club.
She is now completely blind in her right eye, with just two percent vision in her left.
“I was miserable, isolated and had nothing to get out of bed for. I was just low and ready to give up,” Jackie said. “People would become impatient with me at the shops. I was so slow; I couldn’t get my money out quick enough because I couldn’t see the coins. I was frightened and embarrassed, so I just stopped going.”
Since accessing services through Guide Dogs WA, Jackie is no longer scared to live her life, and after working with therapists, she has learnt the skills to live independently again.
“I have found myself again. I can go out and go to the shops and feel a sense of achievement. I finally feel accepted.”
In March, Jackie received her first Guide Dog, Tara, who she describes as ‘nothing short of fabulous’.
“Tara has made the darkness of my day and night a place I no longer feel lonely in,” Jackie said. “I was full of self-pity, but you just have to pull yourself up. Tara helped me do that!”
“Life can change so quickly and I am glad that I have Tara. She is loyal and helpful, and makes me laugh everyday with her cheeky ways. I am so thankful”.
It takes two years and over $35,000 to train a Guide Dog, and they are provided free of charge to ensure fair access for all.
There are only three eligibility requirements to apply for a Guide Dog: meet the criteria for legal blindness, be at least 16 years of age, and live in Western Australia.