Monday, 11 August 2014

Guide Dogs Assessment

On Friday - shortly before attending the final day of my work placement at Guide Dogs - I was visited by Richard Woodcraft, my Guide Dogs Mobility Officer (GDMI), for my final assessment in the process of receiving my Guide Dog.

Previous to this assessment I've had my initial meeting at home, some medical forms to complete, and a mobility assessment; demonstrating whether I can use my long cane effectively and efficiently, as a back-up plan for when my dog is ill or when on the waiting list for a new dog. The final stage of the process is a home visit to establish who you live with, what other animals are in the house, the sort of routes you'd be making, how busy your lifestyle is, and where the Guide Dog would be sleeping and spending - as well as undergoing a harness training session.

After Richard filled my forms in, it was time for the harness assessment. I have had a few practices with an empty harness before, all within the past month, so feel very confident when being guided and using the harness, in a relaxed way, to be safely guided around obstacles. I was taught some basic commands and harness techniques too.

My harness training followed the route down to my local shops, which I am very confident with after completing 10 months of mobility training with a long cane recently, so know where everything is located on each kerb - so much so, that I even knew when Richard was being cheeky and attempting to guide me to the Butchers!

My assessment went extremely well, and Richard told me there and then that my application had been approved and I'm now officially on the waiting list to be matched to my dog! I received my confirmation letter of approval in the post this morning to confirm that my application was successful and have received an information pack to read through focusing on the next steps of becoming a Guide Dog owner.

I am over the moon that progress has finally been made in my journey to be matched to a Guide Dog after 11 months since initially applying. I am anticipating the day that I'm matched, have completed my residential training and can begin an independent and mobile life in the safe paws of a successful working partnership with my Guide Dog!