When Sandy Benoit's guide dog passed away, she found herself in limbo.
"I went four months without a guide dog and was chomping at the bit," says Sandy. "When I lost my dog, it was a jolting reality that I had to adjust to. There was no pitter-patter in the house. But, when Keller arrived, everything changed."
Sandy was partnered with Keller, a black Labrador/Golden Retriever cross, as part of CNIB Guide Dogs' inaugural class in 2018.
Keller is Sandy's fourth guide dog. A certified Canine Masseuse, Sandy was looking for a guide dog program that was close to home, so she could continue to work while attending formal training.
"The training was in a natural setting, which was great because we were faced with everyday situations that we've had to deal with in the real world," says Sandy. "The instructors are fantastic and really patient."
Sandy is constantly amazed by Keller's strong work ethic – she is calm and confident.
"Keller's gone into some environments that my previous dogs would have said 'Oh no, get me out of here!' to," says Sandy. "She has this 'I can take on the world' determined grit to her, and her personality certainly honours her namesake, Helen Keller."
Sandy has had a wonderful experience with CNIB Guide Dogs.
"They are so flexible," says Sandy. "I love knowing that I can always go back to the trainers for advice and guidance."