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.