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Danika and Ulysses sitting on the ground in a forest in Autumn. Danika has her arms wrapped around Ulysses for a huge hug.

Humans with CNIB Guide Dogs: Danika & Ulysses

“I remember I was so nervous and excited when I met Ulysses for the first time.  When the trainer brought him out to the training property, I threw my cane to the side, knelt on the ground and Ulysses licked my entire face! My heart was slightly guarded – this was my second guide dog and I was scared to love my second one as much as I loved my first. But my guard didn’t last long – I fell in love with him instantly. Since then, Ulysses has graduated university with me, accompanied me on trains, planes, buses, boats, subways and taxis. He has guided me through busy downtown environments and country roads with no sidewalks. It is so difficult to put into words how Ulysses has transformed my life. Working with him makes me feel like I’m flying – it’s a relationship that can’t be understood if you’ve never experienced it. The hard part is when the freedom that comes with a guide dog is undermined by people who don't understand that guide dogs belong everywhere – it's the law. I’ve been a guide dog handler since 2012, and I learned very quickly that being denied access is a barrier that guide dog handlers encounter regularly. I’ve been questioned on a city bus because my guide dog did not “wear a vest” and the driver threatened to kick me off. I’ve been left by a taxi driver while standing alone in downtown Toronto. Getting denied or questioned about my access rights makes me feel like less of a person. It makes me feel as though I am facing more barriers because I use a guide dog. It’s embarrassing, humiliating, and dehumanizing. In most situations I have been able to gain access, but it ruins my day and makes me feel unwelcomed. I wish people understood that a guide dog is allowed to be anywhere the public is permitted. It would make a world of difference."