Bob Justin is the kind of guy you want to be your next-door neighbor. He’s not afraid to laugh at himself or his situation; in fact, he’s not afraid of much these days. “I don’t really have a comfort zone,” says the former Marine. His year in Vietnam and losing his vision later in life has taught him to keep a positive attitude and a sense of fearlessness. He relies on his upbeat attitude and his family and friends to help get him through hard times. “If you’re not tough when you’re blind, then you won’t make it. We don’t have a pity party here.”
During his stay at the VA Hospital in Chicago, a fellow retired Marine who had received a Leader Dog advised Bob to consider getting a guide dog from Leader Dogs for the Blind. At 70, the lifelong “dog person” traveled to Rochester Hills to meet his future Leader Dog and soon to be faithful companion, handsome golden retriever Lego. As Bob’s partner, Leader Dog Lego helps Bob maintain his can-do attitude and they keep each other out of dangerous situations. He credits his confidence to the extensive training he received at Leader Dog. “I don’t fear anything or anyone putting the two of us in harm’s way. He protects and trusts me and I do the same for him,” Bob says.
Bob resides in Iowa with his wife, Leader Dog Lego, and their career changed Leader Dog, Dusk. Having a guide dog helps Bob feel more confident in his physical fitness and makes it easier to stay active. “I’m just not a sit on the couch kind of guy,” he says. “I had a route planned out for us to walk at home before I left Leader Dog.”
With his wife working full time, Bob is thankful to have a companion at home to “get into trouble with.” Prior to having a dog, it was challenging for him to get around by himself. With Lego, he has gotten back to the gym for his twice-weekly workouts and marching with the Shriners, a group he has been involved with for over 30 years.
Bob and Lego both enjoy giving back to their community by bringing joy to others. They spend their time going to nursing homes and the VA, where Lego gets all the attention. “He is a stud, a ladies man,” Bob jokes. “He loves all the ladies down at the VA, and boy do they love him.”