A website for guide dog owners, called
Was recently set up, to act as a community for people around the world. It contains a blog, a forum where people can discuss topics and ask questions, and a podcast. The brains behind the idea is Marie, who agreed to write a guest post explaining why she felt that there was a need for a site like this.
My name’s Marie and I’m 27 and live in greater Manchester, England. I have been totally blind since the age of six and finally trained with my first Guide dog Bailey five years ago. I was 22 when I qualified with my loveable pup and had waited to get my first guide until I was emotionally ready to handle the responsibility I feel comes with working with a dog.
before having Bailey, I had lived in California for a year on an exchange programme and had since made several American blind acquaintances, some of which were guide dog owners themselves. Over the years of online interaction with other visually impaired people who are or have been guide dog handlers, I realised fast that the service and support I had received from Guide Dogs in the UK was not a universal experience. I was saddened to hear tales of people having to “send” the dogs back due to some problem as though they were a faulty product or not feeling like they had anyone to talk to about an issue they were experiencing with their dog. As I have had incredible support from the association from which I trained, I got to thinking that maybe some kind of international network for guide dog owners could be established to enable those feeling a strain or not feeling as though they were being supported could confide in other handlers within a supportive and friendly network. they could hear stories of other tales of woe from other guide dog owners and not feel as alone.
The podcast was an idea to have a group of guide dog owners discuss issues that affect us on a daily basis working these gorgeous dogs in the public eye, problems we may be experiencing both with working our pups or a wide spectrum of issues. And to not only huddle together for support and comfort at our downfalls, because let’s face it, we all have our off days, but to celebrate and rejoice in the cherished partnerships that we have formed.
I wanted to show the differences in training, the attitudes within society, the wonderful relationships we build and although not a replacement for your school or association, a cushion for those who need a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on, or a stage to showcase extraordinary and indeed ordinary stories from all from across the globe.
For me, the relationship I have with my dog is special and sharing the good and bad times with others, no matter where they are in the world makes the good times seem great and the bad times not so bad.
New contributors are welcome, and they can contact the site by emailing
Thanks for the post Marie. Hopefully some Paws For Thought readers will check out the site. It would be nice to hear their voices on a podcast in the future.
I think with regular updates and a variety of participants, GDO’s Unleashed could be a valuable resource for guide dog owners and people who just want
to find out more about these working dogs.
I want to try and make guest posts a regular feature on my blog, once a month if possible. If you would like to post something, or have an idea in mind
that I could research and post, please get in touch.