There’s No Slowing Down Melody Goodspeed
By Guest Writer Peggy O'Dell
Melody on her wedding day with her husband
Chris and first Leader Dog, Scarlet.
Melody Goodspeed had a teaching career she loved, a wonderful new boyfriend, and many hopes and dreams for her future when she lost her sight at 26. She used a cane for two years before receiving her first Leader Dog, a petite yellow Labrador retriever named Scarlet, in 2005. “Getting Scarlet was one of the great milestones of my life,” she says. “She changed something in me and made me think for the first time since I lost my sight that maybe I could still realize my dreams.”
With Scarlet by her side, Melody traveled the country for her job as an account manager. Together they visited schools and Lions clubs throughout Virginia to talk about Leader Dog. In 2006, Scarlet was in Melody’s wedding, carrying calla lilies in her harness to match Melody’s bouquet. And four years later, Scarlet joined in welcoming home the newest member of the family, Melody’s son Jonah. “Scarlet played a big part in helping me achieve my dreams of having a career and family,” says Melody.
Scarlet started slowing down and retired at nine years old, but she is still a much loved member of the family and a canine companion to Melody’s second Leader Dog, Daisy. With Daisy, Melody has continued her public speaking and serves as the Lions District 24A Leader Dog Chair.
In 2014 she was honored to receive the Lions Club Humanitarian of the Year Award for the state of Virginia.
Melody and LD Daisy at Leader Dog in 2013
Today, Melody is busier than ever. In between caring for her family, working full-time, public speaking and working on her master’s degree, she had two essays published in the new book Contagious Optimism Vol. II by David Mezzapelle. In her “spare” time, she is taking a class to become a certified Zumba instructor!
“Without Leader Dog I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” she says. “I just decided I wasn’t going to let being blind stop me from doing what I wanted to do. I’m not going to lie, it can be frustrating sometimes, but it won’t stop me.”