50 years of Guide Dog aid

Blind Eleanor’s vi­tal ca­nine sup­port

Hamilton Advertiser - - NEIGHBOURHOOD NEWS - Leona Greenan

A Blan­tyre woman is this month mark­ing a 50-year re­la­tion­ship with the Guide Dogs charity.

Eleanor Lind­say, who is com­pletely blind, was aged just 17 when she re­ceived that all-im­por­tant phone call in 1968 to tell her there was a dog avail­able for her.

It was the be­gin­ning of the gate­way to in­de­pen­dence for Eleanor and she has led an ac­tive life as her dogs have as­sisted her to and from work and al­lowed her to get to the shops, church, drama group and choir.

Eleanor ex­plained: “I was working at a fac­tory at the time, and the man­ager came and told me Guide Dogs had phoned, and I was to go for train­ing the next day as some­one else had pulled out.

“It was April Fool’s Day that year also, and my mum didn’t be­lieve me when I told her. She only re­alised it was true when I started pack­ing!”

Soon after Eleanor was paired with Cherry, a Labrador, and three weeks later was able to get to and from work her­self, in­stead of re­ly­ing on fam­ily to take her.

Eleanor, now 67, added: “One of the best feel­ings was when I went out my­self with my guide dog, and over­took other peo­ple on the pave­ment!

“What a change from hang­ing onto the fence when I was try­ing to get around.”

Be­ing com­pletely blind from birth, Eleanor said it was always the plan to ap­ply for a guide dog. In fact with a guide dog working around seven years, Eleanor has had a to­tal of six guide dogs under her care since 1968 with the trusty yel­low Labrador Erica by her side cur­rently.

Eleanor added: “It nor­mally takes a bit of time to gel with a new guide dog, but I bonded with Erica very quickly.

“All the dogs have had dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties, so it’s hard to pick a favourite, al­though Erica’s per­son­al­ity re­minds me very much of my first dog Cherry.”

Paws-itive vibes Eleanor Lind­say with trusty guide dog Erica

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