Letters from our Alumni

Published in: Update - Issue 1 - 2015 »   

Kim and LD Gracie Mae

Just a note to update you all on how Gracie Mae and I are doing in our new and everyday exciting life. I can never thank you all enough for changing my life by matching me with Gracie Mae. Gracie is more than just a Leader Dog, she’s my partner, my best friend, my smile every day, my comfort, my love. I can never imagine a life without her now.

We have done more in the last six months than I did in the last five years before I got her. We talk to many people that want to know about Leader Dogs for the Blind and what you’ve all done for the girl from the farm!

Thanks again to everyone at Leader Dog,
Kim Becker


I woke up Sunday morning thinking I was still at Leader Dog—mentally getting ready for another day of instruction and O&M challenges. I really was looking forward to another day. From the very beginning of the program to the very end of the program, my experience with Leader Dog was off-the-charts positive.

The clear sign that Leader Dog was on top of things was after I received the acceptance call, I then received another call shortly thereafter from a travel agent who booked my flight. This was well organized and from the start I knew I was going to the right place for help. After completing a week of O&M training, one of your volunteers drove me to the airport and sat with me at the gate for two hours to ensure I boarded the plane without problems. He didn’t have to do that and I told him so, but he stayed and we talked. I thanked him and really appreciated it. I even received a packed lunch from the Leader Dog folks! Too awesome!

Leader Dog was extremely well organized with extraordinary people who were all extraordinarily friendly and helpful. My biggest challenge for the week at Leader Dog was to expand my ever-so shrinking comfort zone. The simplest things have become very difficult over the years. I’m so thankful for the specialist I was assigned. She was exactly what I needed. She challenged me, trained me, taught me a lot and listened when I needed to talk. Her great sense of humor lessened my stress during very stressful situations for me. O&M was tough but enjoyable. I knew I was in very capable hands when she helped expand my comfort zone even during the first day when I accomplished something that I hadn’t done in years—crossed the street independently!

The week I spent at Leader Dog and the entire experience has earned a special place in my heart. I left Leader Dog more humbled and more grateful than ever.

Take care,
Mike Garrigan


John and LD Lincoln

Hi Leader Dog,

There are no words to express the wonderful time I am having with Lincoln. I didn’t know a guide dog could be so clever. Lincoln is so quick on the uptake and unbelievably well behaved. He also comes when I call him! He sits with me on the porch with no thought to run off anywhere (P.S. The whole yard, front and back is fenced in). I forgot how great it feels to walk with my friends without having to hold onto a cane or anyone’s shoulder. Lincoln is one of the gang. The dog and I are clearly working together. I am also very grateful for the intense orientation & mobility training I had at Leader Dog.

I hope you can get a sense of how proud I am to be with my guide. Thank you to everyone at Leader Dog who helped in the process and for making such a great match. It was worth the wait.

Yours in health,
John Dugdale


Tom and LD Daisy and Linda and LD Cole

First of all, we would like to thank Leader Dog for our beautiful dogs. They are awesome!

Getting a Leader Dog is like climbing a mountain. That climb is not always easy. There are a lot of things you have to know and remember. The experience is one that you will never forget. When you finally reach the top of the mountain and you and your dog are a successful team, it feels great and there’s nothing like it. You feel secure and independent with your dog by your side. And then comes the day when you will maybe have to put your dog down. And when you do, you go down too. If a person enjoys using a Leader Dog like we do, they will climb that mountain over and over again. Sometimes you wonder why, but the love you have for dogs and the continuous unconditional love that the dog shows you drives you to do it again.

Linda and Tom Davis