Gaye and Guide Dog Crosby

Guide Dog Crosby changed everything for the better.

Listen to this story: 

Guide Dog Crosby and Gaye love each other

It’s very clear that Gaye loves Guide Dog Crosby to bits! He seems pretty happy too.

We’d like to introduce you to Gaye Smith, of Devonport, who received her first Guide Dog in November. Actually, it was her very first dog, pets included. Thanks to Guide Dogs Tasmania and to you, and with Guide Dog Crosby by her side, she’s regaining her confidence and independence. She’s also found a wonderful friend, who she absolutely loves to bits.

This is their story, in Gaye’s own words.

“For the last five years I have had very poor sight. I was still getting around without aids in 2012, but was always looking down to make sure I didn’t walk into anything. This meant I didn’t see things until right before I got to them, which led to many accidents and falls.

No fun.

My optometrist suggested that I reach out to Guide Dogs Tasmania for help for whatever they could do. We filled out the paper work and sent it off. Soon, a Low Vision Specialist came to visit me at home and with time and practice I learnt to use a white cane. It was a gradual process and my house became a place of Velcro dots on appliances as I gradually pinpointed just what help I needed.

You don’t think about how hard it is to use the oven, microwave, dryer, washing machine and electric frying pan until you can’t see how to operate them! Suddenly the smoke alarm was silenced.

It was wonderful.

By July 2013 I was using the cane all the time. The only thing I found really hard was that around town people often didn’t get out of my way and I would hit them by accident, so I was still tentative. It seemed the best option for me would be to have a Guide Dog. It was a difficult decision for me and my husband as we had never owned a dog. We have two beautiful cats and we were worried how they would they react to a dog.

Once I was placed on the waiting list I was able to call the Guide Dog Instructor whenever I needed reassurance. She was always there, no matter how trivial I thought my question was. The Instructor made quite a few visits to my home where she checked my mobility with the cane and she was happy with my progress.

Then, last October, the Instructor rang and said she had a Guide Dog that was perfect for me. WOW!!!!

Guide Dog Crosby and Gaye go everywhere

With Guide Dog Crosby by her side, Gaye is regaining her confidence and independence.

‘Crosby’ was his name and it was love at first sight, or love at first feel on my part.

I had a week getting to know him before I was to travel to Hobart for our first week of intensive training together. Crosby fitted into our home so well even the cats liked him. He had a quiet manner but we could tell he was bonding with me already. We trained well together in Hobart and came back home to practise what we had learned. I really relied on him because he’d been training for this for two years and I’d only had a week!

Crosby is now my means of getting about town by myself and he is so good for me. I can get about so much more safely as he takes me around obstacles, instead of into them.  One funny moment was when we were walking along a track with my husband and I asked Denis why Crosby was walking in zig zags. Denis replied “he’s taking you around the puddles”. How sweet!

Crosby is more than an aid to me, he’s my friend.

After just a few months I cannot imagine life without him. I can walk around on my own with him as good as a sighted person and we are inseparable. He sleeps in our room in his bed and he is always near me, always looking out for me. He is such good company when I am alone, and I love him to bits.

Guide Dog Crosby leads Gaye past obstacles

Guide Dog Crosby leads Gaye safely past a garbage bin, left in the middle of the footpath.

It is very easy to talk to people about Guide Dogs Tasmania and Crosby. They are surprised that I didn’t have to pay for him and that if it wasn’t for donations by the general public I wouldn’t have been blessed to have him in my life. I really hope telling our story will encourage people to give generously to Guide Dogs Tasmania, so future recipients can continue to lead the lives they want, like me.

Thank you for your wonderful gift to me. I truly am blessed and I just love Crosby to bits!”


It costs over $35,000 to breed, raise and train every Guide Dog. Please share Gaye’s story and make a tax deductible donation today, so we can provide this independence, safety and companionship to those Tasmanians who are ready and still waiting for Guide Dogs. Thank you.  

Click here to make your tax deductible donation online today.