The Impact of a Leader

A young man sits outdoors on a concrete bench on a sunny day. He has a wide smile and sitting at his feet is a yellow Labrador in leather Leader Dog harness

My name is Abby Ribeiro and this is my starting week at Leader Dogs for The Blind as the marketing and communications intern. As one of my first tasks on the job I sit in and observe interviews with clients done by the marketing team. Leader Dog’s staff does interviews with clients about a week after the clients have received their Leader Dog and begun training with them. By this point, the client still has much training to do with their dog, but they have already experienced opportunities to travel to different kinds of environments with their dogs, and they have begun to form a bond with their dog.

Upon sitting in on my first interviewing of clients about the process of getting their dog, I did not know what to expect. I quickly learned these interviews will overfill one with emotions. Each client was equally as enthusiastic as their dog. All the clients are true inspirations by having such high spirits and a glowing attitude.

Every client came from a different place and had a unique story as to how their Leader Dog would change their life. One heartfelt reaction the clients had in common was their answer to the question, “How will having a Leader Dog impact your life?” Everyone concluded that having a Leader Dog will give them back their independence and freedom. When asked this question, Donna Elliot answered, “It gives me freedom. It gives me eyes. It gives me a new way of seeing life. How do you say thank you for something like this? Words don’t seem like enough.”

Listening to them speak about their dogs was an eye-opening and humbling experience. When the clients talked about their dogs, there was nothing but bright smiles when describing them as their intelligent, enthusiastic, kind and loving companions. Seeing the impact and confidence Leader Dogs gives to our clients brings me happiness, hope, and left an impact on me.