Expanding Comfort Zones with White Cane Training

A woman holing a white cane crosses a street with vehicles and a stoplight in the background. Another woman in a Leader Dog shirt follows behind, observing

A Letter from Mike Garrigan, Leader Dog Client

I woke up Sunday morning thinking I was still at Leader Dog—mentally getting ready for another day of instruction and [orientation and mobility] 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


Apply for Orientation & Mobility Training today.


RECOMMENDED BLOGS & VIDEOS

Gretchen Preston sits smiling at the camera with her left arm around her Leader Dog, black Labrador Floyd, who is wearing a leather Leader Dog harness

Five Ways to Keep Your Leader Dog Active in Inclement Weather

By Gretchen Preston, Leader Dog Handler Cold, wind, rain or ...
Tripp walks toward the camera on a sidewalk with one arm extended in front of him. On his left is a yellow Labrador Leader Dog in harness

Full Speed Ahead

© Jeffrey D. Etheridge There is no shortage of preparation ...
On left is a young golden retriever puppy wearing a Future Leader Dog bandanna. On right is an adult golden retriever in harness

Consider Raising a Puppy

Do you love dogs? Are you passionate about making a ...
The Williams family kneels outdoors with a black lab

Leader Dog for the Soul

I first considered raising a puppy for Leader Dogs for ...
A man walks down a sunny sidewalk with outdoor tables. He is walking with a white cane next to a woman in a Leader Dog polo

Is Orientation & Mobility Training Right for Me?

Orientation and mobility, or O&M, is a series of skills ...
A yellow lab wearing Leader Dog harness sits on a sidewalk looking at the camera. A person whose legs and feet are visible stands behind the dog holding the leash

When You Meet a Leader Dog

Leader Dogs provide independent travel for thousands of people around ...