I am very pleased to share the latest “Pupdate” from Berry, the Guide Dogs for the Blind pup which we are very proud to sponsor. I just received the wonderful news that Berry has grown from a tiny playful pup to a fully-qualified guide dog who is making a huge difference to her new owner, Sue’s, life. We hope you’re as proud of her as we are!
Please find below the update from Sue, Berry’s new owner.
Berry's latest Pupdate!
Hi, it’s Sue here, Berry’s owner. Welcome to her final Pupdate! I’m excited to share my story with you…
I’ve been visually impaired all my life as I was born completely blind. When I was around 1 month old, I had an operation that gave me a little bit of sight back. This lasted for most of my life, however, as I have got older, my sight has started to deteriorate. It wasn’t long before I realised that without support, I could end up losing my job, my independence and my freedom.
At first, I relied on a white cane to get around, but it didn’t agree with me at all. I often fell over when walking with one and so I tended to avoid using it where possible. However, as my sight deteriorated further, the cane became my only option as I really couldn’t risk falling over and hurting myself. I decided enough was enough and I applied for a guide dog.
A busy lifestyle
In my opinion, when weighing up a white cane with a guide dog, there is no comparison. My first guide dog was called Faith and she absolutely transformed my life, just as Berry is continuing to do for me. I’m so grateful to have a guide dog, so that I don’t lose my independence completely again.
Berry adjusted amazingly to my busy lifestyle as no two days are the same for me. She’s a very special dog as she can cope with lots of variety; we will go from a quiet village one day, to a busy part of London the next, and she won’t be phased in the slightest. I work in an office environment and Berry is amazingly well-behaved, sitting quietly under my desk whilst I get on with work. My colleagues absolutely love having her around too!
Quite the character
Berry is certainly quite a character and although we haven’t been partnered for long, it feels like I’ve had her forever. When she’s not working, she’s extremely playful and very affectionate. However, when she’s in the harness, she’s a very smart and focused dog. Sometimes, I like to play games with her; I’ll try to make her think I’m going to throw the toy in a different direction, but she’s usually on the ball and figures it out! She’s settled in so well at home, even if she is a snorer!
My Guide Dogs Mobility Instructor took Berry and I through our Partnership training during our first few weeks together. She encouraged me to build a strong bond with Berry and reminded me of all the commands I needed to give her to allow her to guide me successfully. It was a little complicated as Berry needed to learn all of the routes around my village, but it was a lovely opportunity to get to know Berry and understand how we can make our partnership a success.
The world is our oyster
Having a guide dog has allowed me to enjoy the world around me. To celebrate our new partnership, I decided to take a trip to the beach. Berry wasn’t too fond of the water at first, but we’ve been on many trips to the beach since then, and she’s getting braver and braver every time she visits! I really love to get out in the open with Berry and explore as much as I can, so we recently went on holiday to Wales and did lots of walking in the mountains. I think Berry found the walk a lot easier than me, but then she does have four legs!
I used to get quite anxious around the winter time, as the days are shorter and it can be quite daunting, but this year I know Berry will be by my side to guide me and keep me company. We’re completely an item now: if you get me, you get Berry, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I hope you’ve enjoyed following Berry’s journey. You’ve done something amazing and I can’t thank you enough for your support.