Do you remember the first time you saw a guide dog?

I remember the first time I ever came into contact with a guide dog. I was in first class in primary school, so about seven years old. A woman called Sheila must have been visiting an older class in the school, and had been asked to come into our class with her dog Beth. I think she was a golden lab retriever. I remember thinking she was quite big and very soft compared to our pet dog, but now I know that’s because guide dogs are so well groomed. I remember feeling the harness on the dog as it sat, and she explained how you weren’t really meant to touch the dog when it had the harness on, but of course i could.
I was fairly shy at this stage, so although I knew from a young age that I wanted a dog, I don’t think I asked her too many questions,even though I was probably dying to. Maybe a year or two later I met a woman from Scotland with a huge German Shepherd guide dog called Tess, and I got my photograph taken with her. I asked more questions then, and even more during the trial walk I had with a guide dog in training called Walter, during a guide dogs open day in Belfast when I was about ten.

Meeting those three dogs had a huge affect on me, as it helped to clarify how much I already knew that I wanted my own guide dog. The first time I met OJ was a special day, and couldn’t have gone better for me.
The reason I’m thinking about this is because a few days ago I found
this video
of little Ellie Clarke meeting a guide dog for the very first time. The instructor is fantastic with her, and its clear from the video and from reading the blog that her parents want to give her every opportunity as young as possible. Ellie seems like such a lovely intelligent child, and I hope someday, if she decides she wants one, she can be as happy with a guide dog as I am with OJ. More importantly for now though, its a coincidence that today is Ellie’s 3rd birthday!

So, even though probably none of us are lucky enough to have video footage, do you remember your first time meeting (or even seeing) a guide dog?


8 thoughts on “Do you remember the first time you saw a guide dog?

  1. The first time i met a guide dog was my friends dog. I was at the hating furry things so wouldn’t touch him at all.

    My teacher in school had a dog called Amber. He used to walk in front of me all the time and he used to wonder round the class.

    This same teacher then got a dog called Burban. He was a chocolate lab. Big boy.

    I then met OJ. He was the first dog i walked with. He zoomed down that corridor lol. But three months later i applied.

    I then walked with a dog called Valdez and then i walked a little girl called opal, and about a year later i met Ushi.

    I think all blind people should meet a guide dog at least once.


  2. And because i’d never walked with a dog i didn’t know how to walk propperly and that. I wonder what i’d think if i walked him now lol. We should swap dogs sometime lol. xx

  3. Reblogged this on Through My Eyes and commented:
    I often wonder about this, I grew up with mum’s guide dogs so it was a totally normal concept for me. I wonder what it’s like for people who don’t have a family member or friend with a guide dog.

    I’m interested in your thoughts, when did you first meet a guide dog? What were your first impressions?

  4. I don’t quite remember the year or exactly how old I was, which I know will shock Jennifer as I am sometimes annoying with my exact details of when things happen. But, I remember meeting a Guide Dog at a local agricultural show who was working with a man that I know all be it not very well. He was happy to let me rub the dog and ask a few questions. One of the first being, “how old do I have to be before I can get one?” I had always an idea that I wanted a Guide Dog and I love dogs and animals and we had a dog in our hose from when I was at least six years old. After seeing his dog I just couldn’t get the idea of having one out of my head. Now, many years later, I am on my third dog and do not regret any of it for a minute. Sorry this comment is rather long.

  5. Love this post Jenny! I’ll never forget the first time I met a guide dog: I was six, and was walking on Grafton Street with my Mum. It was near Christmas and the place was buzzing. Mum suddenly stopped and I wondered vaguely what was going on. Then she sayd “come over here a sec, I want to show you something”. I hadn’t a clue what this might be, but followed along until suddenly I heard jingling coins and paws on the ground – Guide Dogs were obviously having a collection. And then, there was a big furry head in my hand, and a wet nose sniffing me and licking very gently at my fingers – I was bowled over! I have no idea to this day who the owner was, but she was incredibly patient with my over-interest. I knew then that I would get one “when I’m big” as I told everyone and anyone who would listen… Anyway, love the blog!


    • Hi Christina! Funny how you remember so much detail about something that was really interesting to you when you were small. Its still very strange when people I know find my blog. Its kind of dying, so nice to have a new person leaving a comment šŸ™‚

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