Things couldn’t have been better. I was 21, had a part-time job, my first apartment, and was starting to break out of my shell and make friends. I had also applied to finally receive my first guide dog, a dream and goal I’d had since I’d met one at the age of nine.
Then . . . everything came crashing down around me. I’d been sexually assaulted by someone I’d considered a close friend. I no longer felt safe in my apartment, and my day-to-day life became little more than flashbacks and anxiety. I had also spent a day in the hospital, where I miscarried from the assault in question.
The call came when I was desperate for any hope, just 2 days after going to the ER: my application for a guide was accepted.
Training with Kinley was one of the hardest things I’d done, but it was also one of the most life changing. Kinley hasn’t just helped me by guiding me from point A to point B, as is his proper job description. He has been my sunshine, the ray of hope I’ve clung onto through everything. He has remained by my side through PTSD, anxiety, self-doubt, homelessness, and the discovery of who I am as a young woman after a life of chronic trauma and hardship. Without him, I wouldn’t have had the courage to venture into the unknown, to believe in myself, or to do what is right for both of us. Kinley is bright, curious, sensitive, loving, tenacious, and everything I could have asked for in my first guide. Kinley truly is my hero dog. Thank you for all you do, buddy, in and out of harness.