A Labrador guide dog is helping a blind triathlete pursue her dream!
Amy Dixon knows that her adorable guide dog will be waiting for her at the finish line.
Amy lost her vision sixteen years ago. She is now a champion triathlete pursuing her dream to make it to the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil. Her Labrador guide dog, Elvis, has been with her in every step of the way for the past six years.
“From the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed, your life is different in every possible positive way you can imagine,” Amy told TODAY “Not just because you know that you’re going to be safe 100 percent of the time, (but also) that you’ve got a companion. You’re not going through a very difficult disease alone.”
Elvis has been an important part of Amy’s success. The Lab has been by her side throughout her journey to becoming a world-ranked athlete.
“To have Elvis accompany me to every race and be at every finish line and lick the sweat off of my face when I’m done, I am so, so lucky,” she said.
Amy was diagnosed with a rare form of uveitis when she was 22 years old. Uveitis is an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye. This drastically reduced her peripheral vision and left her legally blind. Working as a sommelier and buyer for a national corporation, Dixon was devastated by the news.
“I was pretty angry because I didn’t know how the next 56 years of my life was gonna look, so I really viewed it as a death sentence,” she said.
A family member suggested to get a guide dog from Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Combined with her determination to get back in shape, Elvis helped turn her life around.
“Guiding Eyes, they do such an amazing job of matching you and your personality and your lifestyle with your dog,” Amy said “I call it ‘Match.com for dogs.”’
The Labrador has even helped her make new friends during her trips around the world.
“He’s got more stamps on his ‘paws-port’ than most people!” Amy wrote on her blog. “He’s been a great traveler from the start, sleeping for up to eight hours on a flight, and patiently waiting to relieve himself in weird places on fake grass at international airports. Plus, I’ve met so many incredible people at airports who I’ve later become friends with thanks to him making the ‘introduction.’ Everyone wants to meet him from our flights.”
Amy credits the Labrador for all the help, support, and love she gets.
“To say he’s my best friend is sort of a cliché, but it’s true,” she said.
Image and article source: Today