Lucia lives in Sydney, married with a daughter and is a Remedial massage therapist.
What is your sight condition / level of vision?
Retina dystrophy. As far as I’ve been told I have about 10% sight. I also have cataracts and nystagmus. Born with it. Diagnosed at 10. No symptoms until then.
What’s your dog’s name and how old is your dog?
Aura. Yellow Labrador. 2.5 years.
How long have you had a Seeing Eye Dog?
Since April last year.
Is this the first Seeing Eye Dog you have had?
What made you want to get a Seeing Eye Dog?
Starting to lose my independence and confidence. I love walking everywhere and I was losing the capability to do it on my own. Starting not to want to go anywhere. And I love exercise too.
What difference does your dog make to your life?
Huge, my confidence back. People are aware of my condition now too because before if I wasn’t using a cane and they were wondering what I was doing if I would crash into them or wasn’t looking at things. I can get out and do everything at the moment. I can go places by myself again. Confidence and independence. The whole family just adores her.
Are there particular activities you like to do that are only made possible with your dog?
Going walking, morning and night. Getting to work by myself. I never could do that before. Just having my independence. Going shopping, the hairdressers. Going to have coffees, going to have a café and feeling independent because she can help me find a chair and sit down. And not sat down where people are already there. Walking through summer. Getting to work back and forth on my own and coming and go as I please. Feeling that security of crossing roads in traffic.
Has there been a time when you have been particularly grateful for your dog?
Crossing roads. Catching trains. She guides me off the train properly. There have been times I’ve thought thank God she’s here when I’ve been walking one way and she pulls me another way.
What do you want people to know about how to behave around Seeing Eye Dogs?
Probably that they aren’t just normal dogs when they are working. They have to respect me and not come up and pat her without asking. Just being aware and having respect that it is a working dog and ask permission to pat.