The Story of Jodie and Iris

Together, Anything is Possible.

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Jodie and Iris

Jodie & Iris

You probably wouldn’t think that Jodie and Guide Dog Iris met for the first time in October. There is clearly a strong connection between these two already. But a lot has happened and a lot of people were involved to reach this point.

Jodie, who lives in Launceston with her husband and two young sons, has Usher Syndrome; a condition characterised by hearing loss and progressive vision loss. Until recently, she would rely on her family to move around safely in public areas, and they were more than happy to do whatever they could to help.

But just as someone’s sight can change, their attitude can too, and there came a point when Jodie no longer wanted to, or could, be totally reliant upon other people. “They’re not always around to help me, and it was getting to the point where my boys didn’t want to be holding mum’s hand all the time,” explained Jodie.

Because of Jodie’s vision impairment, she was missing out, not always on the big things, but the little things too.

Something like her sons’ school athletics carnival was just too daunting for Jodie. So while all the other mums would be cheering their kids on, Jodie would stay home, for fear that if she went out she would bump into something or someone, and be hurt. There had been near misses, and worse.

It was easier and safer not to go out.

As Jodie’s vision decreased, she knew it was only going to get worse. She decided that rather than being restricted to her home while her husband was at work and the kids were at school, she would do something about it. Not long after making that decision, with the help of staff at Guide Dogs Tasmania, she met Guide Dog Iris.

For Jodie, Iris represents everything that is possible in her life now: independence, safety and confidence to leave the house and be the person she wants to be.

With Iris, Jodie will no longer miss out on the athletics carnival, and her children won’t have to miss out on having their mum there cheering them on. They’ll be able to do those things together, just like other families.

And they’ll be living this life together, because of Iris.

Like most two year old dogs, Iris has gone through toilet training, a few pairs of socks, some precious plants and several toys. She’s been loved and cuddled, and she’s melted many hearts along the way. What sets Iris apart from most Labradors though, is the team of people who have given her the best possible chance to become a Guide Dog. And she made it.

With thanks to a generous public, expert vets, loving puppy raisers, a professional training team, and of course a desire to succeed herself, Iris was placed with Jodie in October. They learnt how to work as a team and after four weeks of intensive training together they are now getting on with their lives and they’re excited about it!

Let’s see what they can do from here.

It costs in excess of thirty thousand dollars to train each Guide Dog so that they may provide the kind of freedom and safety that Iris has brought to Jodie and her family. We need your help so we can continue to be there for more Tasmanians with Guide Dogs like Iris.

You; the pup; the training team; the handler: No one can do this in isolation. But together, anything is possible. If you would like to make a donation, call 1800 484 333 during office hours or donate online. Thank you.

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