Kelly and her guide dog Maple, sitting in the passenger side of a car with the door open – smiling for the camera.

Humans with CNIB Guide Dogs: Kelly & Maple

“When Maple walked through my front door for the very first time, I was beyond happy – she’s such a sweet dog. She loves to play, but it's time to get serious when the harness goes on – she is 100 per cent ready to work. She’s like a sergeant when the harness goes on – she doesn’t listen to anyone but me. If I tell her to stay while I go upstairs to get something I forgot, she’s in that exact spot when I return. When she’s out of harness, she’s fun, loving, cuddly… such a happy dog. She’s given me so much more independence. I can now follow my boyfriend in the grocery store rather than holding onto his arm, and I feel more comfortable going out for walks in my neighborhood. People often stop me and ask questions about what it’s like to have a guide dog and how she has made a difference in my life. I’ve also had several people ask me about the training that Maple has received. Respecting the guide dog partnership is so important – if the handler tells you not to touch or talk to their dog, please listen to them. When a dog is distracted, a handler's safety could be at risk. Handlers know their dogs are cute, and we know many people would love to pet and play with our guide dogs, but harness on means hands off – it's time to work, not play! I’ve heard many handlers talk about the access issues they've encountered while going to places with their guide dog. Honestly, I haven't had issues, but I hope that's the reality for every guide dog handler in the near future. Guide dogs belong everywhere. Looking back, I never thought in a million years that I’d be able to trust an animal as much as I trust Maple; but I love her and I know she’ll never lead me into harm’s way.” -Kelly