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Cindy and her guide dog Barney, a black Labrador-Retriever, overlooking a lake with ducks swimming by.

Humans with CNIB Guide Dogs: Cindy & Barney

"I was very emotional the first time I met Barney. I remember saying to him, 'This is it. We’re going to start a new life together, the two of us.' During the pandemic, Barney was the only reason I was getting out every day. He keeps me safe when we’re out and about. I’m able to walk as fast as I could when I was a child, without people yelling at me to 'watch out' or 'be careful'. He’s given me my independence back. I can go out into the community without having to rely on others to go with me. My husband of 31 years jokes that Barney put him out of a job! What’s amazing is that Barney will actually ignore commands because it’s not safe to do what’s been asked of him. It's called intelligent disobedience. I remember we were walking down the street after work one day, and when we reached a curb, I kept asking him, 'Find right.' He wouldn’t budge. When I asked him to 'find left,' off he went. I realized we were stopped at a T intersection – originally, I was asking Barney to walk me straight into traffic. Another time, Barney stopped me from walking face first into a steel ladder sticking out from the back of a truck that was parked in a driveway. Recently, there was a fire in my apartment building. If it weren’t for Barney, I don’t know what I would’ve done. He was able to get me out safely during a very stressful situation. When Barney saw that the main exit was blocked by fire, he actually led us to a different exit and took me outside to safety. I can’t begin to imagine life without Barney. I love him – he’s changed everything for the better.” -Cindy