Trey Lewis has been a client of NewView Oklahoma for many years. He has attended NewView OWL Camps since he was a young boy and currently lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Trey will be joining the NewView staff at our headquarters in Oklahoma City later this year.
They say that a dog is a man’s best friend—mine is a guide dog named Shatner.
I’ve been blind since the age of six. The best way to describe the vision in my right eye is to compare it to looking through a thin coffee straw with layers of plastic wrap around it. In my left eye, I see light and motion only.
I had always thought about the possibility of getting a guide dog, but I only began seriously considering it recently. Guide dogs come with a lot of responsibility, but I’ve learned they are well worth the commitment.
Things with my guide dog didn’t start out perfectly, though. It took me several weeks to get accustomed to walking with a dog by my side. When you’re used to navigating the world with a cane, it can be hard to have faith in an animal guiding you around. I think the first time it clicked for us was when we traveled to a mall in downtown White Plains. The sidewalks were full of people and obstacles, but my dog navigated around them without running me into anything. Of course, I gave him lots of praise once we got to our destination.
Now that we’ve been together for a year, I can say that I am happy to have him. He still has days when he gets distracted by interesting smells, but when he knows we’re in a new area, he always pays attention and guides me safely.
If you are like me and playing around with the thought of getting a guide dog, I would say that, in the long run, they are well worth it. Shatner and I have done so much over the past year, and we’ve met a lot of people. When I had a cane, people were timid to come up and talk with me because they didn’t know how to approach a person who is blind. But when people see a dog by my side, they often feel much more comfortable striking up a conversation. (The only hard part is asking people not to make eye contact with him or pet him.)
I’m grateful for my new canine companion, and I think getting a guide dog is worth taking the chance.