A woman and her Golden Retriever guide dog sitting in the passenger seat of a car.

Kelly & Maple

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Kelly Picco used to dream about having her own guide dog. When she first met Maple, a 2-year-old Golden Retriever, she was overjoyed that her dream had come true.

“I was so happy when they told me about Maple,” says Kelly, Program Lead, CNIB Foundation – based in St. John’s. “When I met her for the first time, she was really excited to see me.”

CNIB Guide Dogs made sure Maple was the perfect match for Kelly. The program assesses applicants to make sure they are partnered with guide dogs that suit their lifestyles.

“They look at how fast you walk, how busy you are at work and school, what your home life entails and other factors,” explains Kelly.

CNIB Guide Dogs provided Kelly with regular updates until the day Maple arrived in St. John’s.

Even after living with Maple for a few months, Kelly is still surprised at how easily she’s able to trust her guide dog.

“I never thought in a million years I would be able to trust an animal as much as I trust Maple,” says Kelly. “She keeps me safe – she’ll never lead me into harm’s way.”

Kelly and Maple quickly became more than just a guide dog team – they became best friends. Even off her harness, Maple makes sure that Kelly is safe and happy.

“If I’m having a rough day, she’s there to support me,” says Kelly. “She’s great company and she’s made a huge difference in my life.”