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David with his daughter in one arm and his guide dog, Lilo's, harness in his other hand, smiling for the camera on Mont Tremblant overlooking Versant Sud, QB

Humans with CNIB Guide Dogs: David & Lilo

“It never felt like I adopted Lilo, it was like Lilo adopted me. She was so calm and affectionate right from the start – it was like she didn’t want to leave my side. I was told she thrived in busy and active situations, which was perfect for me and my frequent travels downtown and in other cities. She easily navigates icy sidewalks and snow-covered roads. I don’t have to worry about bumping into objects or getting my cane stuck in cracks. She also adjusts her walking speed when we go for walks with my two-year old daughter. I’m always impressed with her level of obedience. She adapts so quickly to new situations. I can go on and on about how Lilo has changed my life for the better. That being said, nothing is perfect. I’ve been refused entry or denied access to places just for having Lilo by my side. I recently went on vacation with my family. At the resort we stayed at, I experienced a higher than usual amount of businesses refusing access to me and my guide dog or questioning whether or not Lilo was in fact a service animal. I was refused entry to a gondola at the resort. I was stopped at the tourist information centre. I was stopped at not one, but two different restaurants. At one point I was getting guide dog explanation fatigue. I was shocked at the number of times I had to speak to supervisors in such a short period of time. I’ve made a conscious decision to stay calm in situations when Lilo and I are being refused access. I’ve rehearsed the scenario in my mind so I can escalate the situation respectfully while keeping my cool. In most cases I've received accommodation after I've explained the situation, but it does generate a lingering fear that one day it won’t be a positive outcome. Even though I’m mentally prepared to deal with the situation, I always fear that my family will miss out on something if we're denied access." -David