At the end of April 2012, Mike Moore headed back home to Pickering, Ontario, Canada, with a new family member – a four-legged one. He came to Guide Dogs of America (GDA) earlier in the month to receive and train with “Gracy”, a black Labrador Retriever that was specifically chosen to be his guide dog. As a controller for the past 5 ½ years, he wanted more mobility and independence after his vision started to decrease eight years ago due to the progression of Retinitis Pigmentosa. He wanted to alleviate some of the stress and dependence that was put on his wife if he ever wanted to go anywhere.
After receiving Gracy, Mike is back to his regular pace – for the first time in several years he’s got his own stride back, while accompanied by a new partner with a similar personality. “She is very much like me,” Mike says. “She knows when to be professional when she’s working and can be very playful when she’s not. She’s a perfect match for me.” With his self-professed analytical mind, what he really appreciated about the training at GDA was the “building block” type training; taking small steps at the beginning and build upon those so that you have the confidence when you get to the next level. When asked about he felt during the whole experience of receiving a guide dog he states, “It’s like all of the firsts in your life, and all of the emotions that go along with each of them. Driving for the first time, holding your baby for the first time, receiving your college degree; there is a full range of feelings – everything from elation, anxiety, fear, and accomplishment. I felt all of those wrapped up in this experience of receiving this wonderful gift.”