PETSURE – Rina & Keiser
I was lucky to receive Keiser in 2012 from South African Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind.
Keiser is my fourth Guide Dog. A Guide Dog means more to a person who is visually impaired, than what a seeing person thinks. To me Keiser is my independence, my freedom and my friend.
We live in Pretoria. I trust Keiser to take me around the office block where I work. In the mornings and afternoons we catch a bus to and from work. We sometimes have to walk to the local shop to get the daily necessities. If Keiser is sick or injured I have a problem.
I am so glad that we are part of Petsure. It gives me peace of mind to know Keiser is on a medical aid. I can take him for his yearly vaccinations and to the vet if I have to. I never have any problems with payment.
I can’t thank Petsure and S A Guide-Dogs enough for what they do for us.
I was a very dependent, afraid person. When I got my first guide dog, whose name is Nixon, my whole life changed for the better, for this I am truly grateful to the South African Guide-Dogs Association.
I have not only got a guide dog, but also a friend.
Nixon has done so much for me and we have grown so close to each other, that I cannot begin to imagine what I would do without him.
When Mom told me last November that we were going to go to Cape Town on holiday in February and by ourselves, I was terribly worried. lonly knew that Cape Town was very far away. How was I meant to lead her to a place I’d never been to? Mom said “Not to worry – the Guide Dogs Association& the travel agent will help us”. My Mom sometimes knows what she’s doing so I left her in charge of making the arrangements.
A big taxi, just for us and driven by Kenneth, arrived at our house at 0610 and took us to the airport. Everyone was so kind and helpful and the staff of Mango were truly wonderful. We arrived in Cape Town at lunch time and were driven to the lovely WinchesterMansions Hotel. Lots of nice people there too – they all told how beautiful and clever I am. Really nice people.
Eish. Have you been to Cape Town? Things I’d never seen or smelt in my whole life; the sea, the sand and all those strange swimming creatures. It was so exciting and I loved every second of it. We walked and walked and walked. We were also taken by friends to all sorts of places like Chapman’s Peak and the V & A Waterfront. The Waterfront is fun but I don’t like jazz much. Mom says the food at the hotel was scrumptious. I think the wines were goodthere too. They must have been – she drank a lot of them.
I slept for two days when we arrived home and on the third day I had to have a bath because the boring humans in my life said that my coat was full of sand. I like sand. I didn’t even get a crummy ice-cream on my holiday – why couldn’t I keep the sand?
We are going again next year and if Mom still refuses tobuy me even one small piece of kingklip, I’m not taking her for any walks, anywhere, any time.
Thank you to everyone who so willingly helped make our stay in Cape Town the holiday of a life time.
With love, Shana
When I first heard the mystic tale of a dog assisting his blind master through life’s daily obstacle’s and helping out in more ways than just simply lifting a paw while on his back in the backyard, I was slightly skeptical. For one, the dogs I knew were not the kind of creatures I’d willingly trust my day to day undertakings in and around my usual hotspots with, and I mean I’ve memorized all the routes to my frequent dwellings so why would a dog of all things be necessary at all right? These were my musings as my father relayed the life changing story about a guide dog who lay as still as a statue with obedience my father never thought possible from a dog, especially since they were on a plain hurtling towards some business destination of some sort. It sounded to me like something that would be featured in one of those TV shows where prominent miracle like events occurred somewhere just beyond the boundaries of the average household or city and quite frankly would just never happen in your lifetime.
Fast forward about 11 years or so later and there I was, hastily acquiring one of these dazzling dogs for myself. A little uncertain about what to expect from a guide dog, I arrived on SAGA’s doorstep on my 19th birthday not realizing at the time the radical new adventure I was about to undertake. I can say without a doubt that Dolce, my golden friend in leather lead and harness, has changed my life. I know I know, that is probably one of the most overused clichés but some clichés are there to be abused when necessary right? No longer did I have to deal with the frustration of locating friends while pushing through frantic varsity students rushing to fill up already packed lecture halls. Finally I could walk around varsity at my own breakneck speed without being forced into contact with objects I’d rather avoid. The level of independence I always desired was mine at last. And the girls…. Well that’s a story for another day☺.
Now, 4 years after that unforgettable birthday, Dolce and I have both graduated with an academic excellence award. Thank you SAGA for giving me a level of independence that was unexpected and unbelievably fulfilling! Dolce is not just my guide dog, but also my best friend because He never tells… Ever☺! I am truly happy and commend the remarkable work that is done by SAGA! I can guarantee that mine is simply one of many such stories from individuals all over the country who feel like they’ve just been set free. Keep up the great work and again I say, thank you!
From Calvin Botha, tastefully composed with the help of Dolce.
Having a Service Dog work at your side is like having ‘happiness on tap’ 24 hours a day! A Service Dog provides one with total love and devotion, undiluted commitment and canine assistance, which always fascinates and entertains strangers.
One need never be lonely with your best friend at your side…….there is ALWAYS a friendly smile, soft, adoring brown eyes, a wet nose, a wagging tail and a friendly paw to help. I have to admit that I cannot ever imagine living life without a Golden bundle of joy at my side. ……a dog’s warmth provides the friendliest blanket.
Heidi and Sweet Olivia.
DIE ONMEETBARE WAARDE WAT MY GIDSHONDE TOT MY LEWE TOEVOEG
Dit is vroegoggend toe ek wakker word en Domino se rustige snorkgeluidjies hoor. Ai, hy is ook al agt en ‘n halfjaar oud. Tog is hy, net soos sy voorgangers, net soos rooiwyn – hoe ouer, hoe beter!
Terwyl ek die slaap uit my oë uitvryf, skiet die gedagte my te binne: dis die sesde Maart! Ek en Domino het mekaar vandag sewe jaar gelede ontmoet. Vandag gaan ons ons saamwees vier!
Ek leef al 39 jaar saam met gidshonde en elkeen het soveel betekenis aan my lewe gegee. Saam het ons moeilike roetes deur al hoe moeilikerwordende verkeer gestap; en saam het ons heerlike tye beleef.
Henna was my eerste vierbeenmaatjie. Ek het haar gekry ‘n paar maande nadat ek vir die eerste keer begin werk het. My selfbeeld was uiters swak; dus het ek geen selfvertroue gehad nie. Met my huidige ondervinding – van ‘n leeftyd later – glo ek dat arme Henna baie swaargekry het. Sy kon nie altyd my optrede en huiwering interpreteer nie. Die positiewe herinneringe sal my egter altyd bybly. Ons het heerlik in Durban se strate in die reën gestap; in vriende se swembad saam geswem; saam trein gery om vir my ouers op die plaas naby Vryheid te gaan kuier; ag, en nog baie meer. Alreeds by haar het ek begin agterkom dat daar soveel dinge is wat mens en dier bind. Ek het ‘n paar keer van blyplek verander en sy het maar altyd by die nuwe omstandighede aangepas. Die proses van aanpassing is nie maklik nie, maar dit bou karakter.
Julius was my tweede gids. Hy was ‘n aantreklike seun met ‘n geelbruin kop, pienk neus en wit lyf – daardie figuur, ‘handsome’! G’n wonder hy wou nie juis ‘n gidshond wees nie; nietemin het hy homself goed van sy taak gekwyt. Dit was vir my ‘n hartverskeurende ervaring om hom by ander mense te laat aftree. Tydens hulle laaste kuier, het hy aan sy aanneemma gestamp en reguit deur toe gestap. Dit was die teken dat hy wou huis toe gaan. Hy het sy nuwe huis as sy tuiste aanvaar. Aanvaarding is ‘n pynlike proses, maar dit is deel van die lewe.
Amber en ek was sommer van die eerste ontmoeting af sielsgenote. Ons het geen probleme met kommunikasie gehad nie. Sy het my toegelaat om haar liggaamshouding te voel. As sy vir iets gestaan en blaf het, het sy net so bly staan, sodat ek die hare wat regop staan; die gespitste ore; die rigting waarin haar gesig gedraai is; die stert wat óf reguit na agter, óf regop gestrek is terwyl die puntjie beweeg; kon voel. Ai, ons het soveel vreugde, harde werk en ook hartseer gedeel! “Time to say goodbye” was hoog op die treffersparade toe Amber by ander mense moes gaan aftree. Ek en vriende het hulle dikwels besoek.Sy het dan met haar kop op my voete kom lê, soos haar gewoonte altyd was.As ons egter in hulle groot tuin gaan stap het, het sy eers saam met haar nuwe aanneemouers voor gestap en dan ‘n rukkie langs my kom inval. Sy was tevrede as ons dan ry en haar groet. Dit was vir my ‘n riem onder die hart om te ervaar hoe sy die nuwe omstandighede aanvaar het; te midde van die groot hartseer wat daarmee gepaard gegaan het.
Audrey was van die begin af tot by haar onverwagse dood my speletjieshond. Na ‘n lang dag se harde werk in die middestad van Pretoria, het ons hier in ons kompleks gestap – in ‘n ontspanne atmosfeer sonder toetende taxi’s, dreunende vragmotors, luierende busse en jaende motors. Daarna het ons met haar piepende bal in my tuin gespeel. Sjoe, sy kon raak vang! By haar het ek eerlikheid, vreugde, en nog vreugde geleer! As ons iewers gekuier het en sy voel dis nou tyd om huis toe te gaan, het sy óf my handsak, óf haar leiband vir my gebring. Sy sou nie rus voordat ons nie opstaan om huis toe te gaan nie.
Ek moes vroeër aftree – vir my ‘n traumatiese tyd in my lewe. Om dit te vergemaklik, het ek voor daardie laaste dag by die werk, ‘n vlug vir my en Audrey bespreek na vriende in Kaapstad. Op Audrey se verjaarsdag vlieg ons toe. Vir die eerste keer in haar lewe het sy die vliegtuig en die strand beleef. Ai, hoe heerlik het sy met die ander honde en met my op Blouberg se strand en in die see gespeel! Toe, onverwags, word sy sommer in ‘n oogwink ernstig siek na ‘n dag se speel op die strand. Die uiteinde was ‘n vinnige, aggressiewe tipe lewerkanker. Ek moes sonder haar terugvlieg huis toe. “You lift me up” is oral gehoor tydens die pynbelaaide tyd. Dit is nou nog asof sy vir my wil sê: “Leef vandag asof dit die laaste dag van jou lewe is.”
Nou is ek en Domino nog by mekaar. Ai, om te ervaar hoe hy verander het van ‘n ernstige, teruggetrokke Dominee tot ‘n spelerige, soms skaam, seuntjie met 100% selfvertroue, is wonderlik! Ons kuier in winkelsentrums en gaan fliek saam met vriende; doen soms alleen inkopies; reis per bus of vliegtuig (afhangende van koste) om by vriende en familie te gaan kuier; woon kerkdienste, lesings, groepsbesprekings en konferensies by; besoek skole en ander groepe om inligting te gee oor SAGA; ag, nog baie ander dinge. Te lekker!
Domino het my gehelp om my nuwe lewensfase te aanvaar en ons is baie lief vir mekaar.
Seker die belangrikste, wonderlikste waarde wat my gidshonde tot my lewe toevoeg, is dit:
Moet nooit geliefdes met mekaar vergelyk nie. Aanvaar elkeen vir wat hy/sy is en onthou elkeen as ‘n unieke individu.
Janie & Domino
My Nat-neus-ogieswoef, Yukon, gegeedeur die Liewe Vader, geskenkdeur die SA- Gidshondvereniging. Yukon het nie net my lewenie, maar almalwatons ken, se leweverander. Hy is ‘n “gentle giant” wat met soveelliefde en sorgomsienna my, nie net oponswandelpaaienie, maar ook op die emosionele pad. ‘n Trekpleisterviralmalwatnie die sagtheid van sy bruin oëkanweerstaannie, dit gee my natuurlikgeleentheidomsoveelmenseteontmoet….watvoorheenondenkbar was! Yukon gee mygeleentheidomtespog met die mooistespesiedenkbaar, saggeaard, betroubaar en omdathyditweet, voeleksommer net so spesiaal (nogalaansteeklik J)
Dankie, aanALMALwat ‘n deelgehad het in my wonderwoef se grootmaak, opleiding en borgskappe! Julle het my leweweerbetekenisgegee, BAIEDANKIE,
Marius en Yukon Grobler
Sover dit my gidshond Jedda aanbetref, hy is mees wonderlike dier wat ek nog ooit gsiien het. Daar is ‘n ongelooflike band tussen ons die een soek altyd ander een naby.
Hy is ook baie goed opgelei en is onsettend slim ken elke winkel in die mall by die naam.
Hy beteken ontserrend baie vir my en ons is ook baie life ver mekaar.
Deon du Plessis
Service Dog Pringle
Pringle celebrated his tenth birthday on the 31st of December 2014.
Pringle has been in service, as my Service Dog, for eight years and four months to date!
Here follows my recount of our very first outing. Having read what I have to relate, you may realise the futility in asking what my dog does for me, but ask rather what Pringle can do for you.
It was very busy, that day, at Gallager Estate. The event we were visiting was the Disability Show.
I was very self-conscious. It was not because of my disability – I’m a quadriplegic – it was the attention that Pringle was attracting!
I was so proud of my big beautiful Golden Retriever, my friend. People asked why I needed a dog. Some asked if I was blind. There were also those who asked ‘what all can your dog do for you?’ Jingers some of the questions were almost as clueless as those we get asked on the SARS Tax Return Forms!
Maintaining my composure I patiently I answered their questions, allowed them to pat Pringle while maintaining my integrity, why, after all, I was, indirectly, representing the S A Guide Dogs Association.
Pringle and I were gingerly making our way down a narrow aisle. I was carefully negotiating my motorised wheelchair, always being cautious to allow for the space that Pringle needs, when it happened.
The passage was thick with chairs, crutches and ‘uprights’! It was like a congested highway during peak-hour.
I was looking to my left, checking that Pringle’s path was still relatively clear. Out of the corner of my eye, just in the nick of time, I saw a wheelchair being pushed out of one of the stalls, right in front of me.
Shoot, I had to react quickly to avoid crashing into the ‘offending’ wheelchair.
Oh double-shoot, the chair had a severely disabled young girl perched in it. Her head was lolled back with her sightless eyes staring blindly at the ceiling. Her skinny little arms were folded over her chest, hands crippled like a bird’s claws. Saliva was drooling down her chin accentuating her expressionless, gaunt, almost haunted looking, little doll face.
Oh shoot, shoot, shoot, I did the only thing I could. I ‘Crash-Stopped’ my chair! This means that the chair comes to an immediate, sudden, full stop! It is definitely not the most comfortable manoeuvre, but it worked!
My knees were pressed hard up against the little girl’s chair. The carer who had been pushing the chair stood aghast with her face in her hands! The child’s young mother was behind the carer and she started screaming.
All eyes were on us!
The mother was screaming for help because the ‘dog’ was going to bite her child! She said that she was going to get germs, and said that her child was susceptible to disease. The woman was getting hysterical.
Then it happened. The World stood still.
Pringle had not been able to stop as quickly as I had. He’d come forward and seeing the little girl, he put his big head on to her lap and his big ‘feathered’ furry tail wagged gently. He knew what he was doing. He was creating a miracle.
Slowly, shakily, the little girl’s left arm unfolded and her crippled little hand came down plonk, plonk, plonk on Pring’s forehead.
The girl’s face broke out into a wide smile! Her head tilted forward and she looked at Pringle.
The child’s mother collapsed wailing that it was the first time her child had ever smiled, had ever responded to anything!
There wasn’t a dry eye! We all sobbed!
Pringle just wagged his tail; no big deal.
Sadly there was no photographic record taken of this incident, probably just as well!
Over the years Pringle has never ceased to amaze.
God bless you all. See how much your generosity is appreciated by ALL who have the privilege of coming into contact with any of the GDA trained angels!
Pringle just says, ‘Woof!’
My ever-so-handsome friend, Pringle.
Pringle playing Tazos at Spec Savers, in Benoni, one Saturday morning
Happy Boys together at Mill Stream Farm, Dullstroom.