Ashley Nemeth's sense of confidence and independence was stripped away from her when her guide dog, Rick, was hit by a cyclist on a sidewalk in downtown Regina in 2018.
"We tried working with him to regain his confidence, but we weren't able to, so he was forced to retire," says Ashley.
The next five months were isolating.
"I felt like I wasn't going out as much as I wanted to," says Ashley. "Without a guide dog, I was anxious. I was thinking more about where I was going."
Ashley was eager to regain the freedom that a guide dog partnership promises, so she applied to CNIB Guide Dogs.
Samantha Curkovic, a guide dog mobility instructor with CNIB Guide Dogs, brought Danson, a black Labrador/Golden Retriever, for the interview and assessment.
"As part of my assessment, we walked with Danson, so Samantha could see how fast I walk in the area I live in," says Ashley. "A month later, CNIB Guide Dogs said they had a match for me."
Ashley is now the proud handler of Danson.
"I felt really supported throughout the entire process, which made a huge difference," says Ashley. "I appreciated that there was a combination of group and one-on-one training, both at a central location and at home. With the support of a trainer, I was able to introduce Danson to my community."
Ashley values the networking that she's received as part of the program.
"It was a great opportunity to meet other handlers and spend some time together," says Ashley. "I developed some great friendships in that class, and I keep in touch with the people I met."
With Danson at her side, Ashley's regained her independence and is ready to take on the world.