How Vinko gives John freedom

Vinko is the fourth guide dog John has had since his first dog in 1994. The thing he loves most about them is the freedom and independence they give him.

John first remembers receiving support for his blindness in the 1980s when he received mobility training with his white cane and was introduced to the Talking Book library service by what was then known as the Blind Foundation, now Blind Low Vision NZ.

“Without the Foundation library services in the 80s and their techniques for daily living, life would have been a very dark, lonely place,” says John.

John has also found the help with information technology valuable. But the guide dogs offered John the biggest breakthrough.

“They gave me the freedom and independence I needed to lead as normal a life as possible. They were a huge step up from the white cane.”

“Once I got my first dog, there was just no going back.”

John’s current guide dog, Vinko, has been with John for 6 years. “Vinko will be 9 in May and he worked with me at the health service for 5 years and he is still working.”

“He takes me to all my favourite places – out and about on the boardwalk meeting friends and colleagues and to my favourite café.”

It’s not all work though. Vinko loves playtime at home with his toys where he likes to run away with his toy. “Vinko is wonderful with the grandchildren too,” says John. John is enormously grateful for his guide dogs.

“Without the donors and sponsors I would not be able to have the freedom and independence I have with a fully trained guide dog. My sincere thanks for your support,” he says.