Within our very own Wirral SEND Youth Voice group we have a young man Scott who benefits from having a wonderful guide dog. Her name is Rae. We meet up with Scott and Rae at the weekly sessions organised by the highly skilled Creative Youth Development Team based at Pilgrim Street Arts Theatre. With their support and expertise, Scott has been supported and encouraged to follow his dream to dance. During COVID sessions have been online and we have missed seeing them both.
Meet Rae (proudly sporting her rosette!)
Poppy, our SEND Youth Engagement Officer met up with Scott earlier today and asked him some questions about having a guide dog has helped him improve the quality of his life.
Poppy: What difference has Rae made to your life?
Scott: The difference is massive not only for me but for Rae as a guide dog.
It has raised my confidence to go to new places and carry on with my passion in Performing Arts. With Rae by my side, I graduated Liverpool John Moores University last year with a 2:1 where I was studying dance practices.
She is my security blanket it gives me reassurance knowing she is there.
They call guide dogs ‘life savers’ and this is certainly true, as she has saved my life from incidents.
I have become more sociable as I can go to new places and not have to worry about my safety and the travelling to and from.
I felt a sense of relief as I am now able to leave my house comfortably and confidently.
Having Rae has benefitted all areas of my health, physically and mentally.
Poppy: What was your life like before you got Rae?
Scott: Depressing, isolated, living in constant fear and worry, low self-esteem and confidence, anxiety for my life and safety, stressed and segregated (so often I wasn’t allowed to join in physical activities)
Poppy: What advice would you give someone who is in the process of getting a guide dog?
Scott: Do it, you won’t regret it. It’s 100% worthwhile!
Before you settle on a guide dog there are many have different options and approaches so you can get used to the training.
We’re sure you’ll agree that Scott has benefitted hugely from having Rae to support him. From living independently since finishing his dance degree to securing a full time job. From being anxious to access all the big wide world has to offer to feeling happier and healthier whilst living an inclusive life.
Below are some useful links Poppy has found for anyone looking for support with getting a guide dog.
First two are videos.
https://youtu.be/SgKKZXuiTac (3minutes in length)
https://youtu.be/07d2dXHYb94 (4 minutes in length)
Here’s a couple of links to the Guide Dogs website.
Maybe you’re looking for yourself, a member of your family, or your child, Guide Dogs have lots of people who can help find ways to live actively, independently and well with sight loss. From getting around safely to dog care and family support, to opening up the world.
Thanks to Scott and Rae for agreeing to feature in this article. Happy International Guide Dogs Day 2021!