But life was quite different at school. “Losing my sight at 13 really affected me socially. I had a big group of friends, but by the end of the year, I had only one left. Most of my friends could not cope with me going blind.”
Guide Dogs Victoria came into Tegan’s life through a pink cane… Angela, one of our Orientation & Mobility Instructors, came to visit Tegan at her house to help her learn how to get around town with a cane. She gave her the option of having a pink cane.
Getting around Wangaratta, where Tegan lives, can be very tricky. There are a lot of roundabouts to navigate. Tegan found that she could not manage them with a cane and that she could not venture much further than the main street.
Imagine how tough that can be on anyone, let alone a teenager craving for independence.
So as soon as she could, Tegan applied for a Guide Dog. At the age of 18, she was matched to Nimbee, her very first Guide Dog.
“I couldn’t do what I’m doing today without Nimbee. She keeps me safe wherever I go. Nimbee gives me independence, safety and companionship. Nimbee has that warm touch and soft big brown eyes that would melt anyone’s heart. Nimbee is my best friend. She has really matured over the past couple of years. She sleeps by my bed on a special quilt which my grandmother made for her. She has the perfect life! Life would be so much more difficult without my Guide Dog. Without Nimbee I would not have been able to get a job at the Rural City of Wangaratta for eight months. I was working with disabled youth. It was a wonderful job and I gained so much experience.”
Tegan and five year old Nimbee, will be partnered and work together between 8 and 10 years. When Nimbee retires, Tegan will need a new Guide Dog.
We expect that Tegan will need as many as 10 to 12 Guide Dogs throughout her working life and early retirement.
It costs as much as $50,000 to breed, care for and train a Guide Dog. We receive less than 9% funding from the Government for our Guide Dog services.
If you would like to help people like Tegan, donate now.