Marco, a 9-year-old boy with sight loss from Armstrong, BC (an hour north of Kelowna), didn’t know what to expect when CNIB Guide Dogs came to his home with Baker, a 2-year-old golden retriever. He was uncomfortable with dogs. But, after Marco petted Baker with his bare foot, he decided it was time to take his new Buddy Dog for a walk.
“Baker seems really sensitive to Marco’s needs when we’re walking,” said Mom. “When Marco’s holding the leash, I really notice it. He slows down way more.”
This was the first time Marco crossed the street without holding his mom or dad’s hand. It sounds like a little thing, but it was a big deal. Mom was in tears when she expressed how important this was for her son. And, Marco’s 3-year old brother, who cried in panic when he first met Baker, is now able to hug him and rest his head on Baker.
When we asked Marco what he thought of his Buddy Dog, his response was short and sweet: “It’s really good. We love Baker!”
Whether it’s feeding, grooming or walking Baker, this will give Marco an opportunity to care for a well-trained dog and make it easier for him to transition into a Guide Dog Partnership in the future.
“This program is beautiful on so many levels. It is a privilege to work with kids like Marco and their families, and an honour to represent CNIB when doing this job. I am so happy to be a part of something so meaningful,” says Miriam Mas, Lead, Buddy Dog Program, CNIB Guide Dogs.