By Megan Peterson
Andrew Stone is an active person who enjoys fishing, backpacking, hiking and camping. Thanks to his Leader Dog, Ingrid, he’s been able to continue these activities even with minimal sight. Ingrid especially loves the water, so the two of them spend hours beachcombing along the shores of Washington State—where Andrew currently lives.
Andrew wasn’t always this confident spending time on outdoor adventures though. At the age of five he learned that he had Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), and by the time he was 19, his vision had deteriorated to the point where he was no longer able to drive.
“There was a six year period that I wasn’t a fun person to be around,” Andrew says. “I got very angry and eventually I got tired of feeling that way.”
Andrew enjoys a nice afternoon of fishing. LD
Ingrid is taking in the scenery from the shore.
The Michigan native ended up traveling to Kalamazoo to visit the Michigan Commission for the Blind. He used that resource for about six months learning how to deal with his RP on an emotional level. During this period he decided it was time to pursue getting a Leader Dog.
“There’s this misconception in our culture that people with a physical challenge are ‘different,’” Andrew says. “My Leader Dog changes that perception completely. People approach me all the time to chat and ask questions about Ingrid. My social life has completely changed.”
Andrew shared that Ingrid has helped him regain his confidence socially, and to pursue the activities he enjoys doing. He’s even been able to travel quite a bit now that Ingrid is by his side. They’ve been on planes, trains and boats together. Ingrid is especially helpful on the trips he takes from Washington back to Michigan to see his family.
Andrew and LD Ingrid walk to Andrew’s job as an
integrated scheduler for Boeing Corporation.
Leader Dogs for the Blind is honored to help clients feel comfortable and mobile in any environment – we’re excited to see what adventures Andrew embarks upon in the future.
Watch a short video about Andrew and Leader Dog Ingrid.