A New Dog Brings a New Direction

By Rachelle Kniffen

Published in: Update - Issue 1 - 2016 »   
Bob Brown and yellow lab Leader Dog Cody, who is in harness, stand side by side in front of a blue background

Having lost his sight to retinitis pigmentosa at age 7, Bob Brown had years of experience traveling with a white cane—but he was resistant to using it, never feeling completely comfortable. He felt that there had to be a more enjoyable way to travel, so he began his search. That is how he found Leader Dog, and since he had grown up with dogs, the chance to have one at his side as he headed off to college sounded pretty good to him.

Bob found that his first Leader Dog, Cody, really helped to boost his confidence. But this newfound confidence was tested when Cody retired and Bob headed back to Leader Dog to train with his second dog, Reveille. “The transition from Cody to Reveille was tough, especially since Reveille was young, fast and big,” says Bob. “But the effort was certainly worth it.”

After Reveille passed away, Bob received a Labrador named Boone, who he worked with for eight years until Boone started developing eye issues. In 2015, Bob received his current Leader Dog, a beautiful German shepherd named Lazer, who became part of his motivation to get involved with the Guide Dog Users of Canada (GDUC). After 20 years of working with Leader Dogs, Bob felt it was time to be of assistance to others who are visually impaired and introduce them to Leader Dogs for the Blind.

Bob Brown sits in between German shepherd Lazer and yellow lab Boone in front of a wintery background. All three are wearing Santa hats

“It’s a lot of hard work starting over again, but it is definitely worth it for the sense of security and accomplishment of being able to carry on with a new dog,” Bob says.

In September of 2015, Bob was nominated to the board of directors of GDUC where he chairs the fund development committee and is the representative to the Canadian Transportation Agency Accessibility Advisory Committee. He has enjoyed his new focus on community service so much that he is planning a third run for city council in his hometown of Brantford, Ontario in 2018.

We wish Bob, Leader Dog Lazer and retired Leader Dog Boone all the best.