Writer, performer and story archaeologist Isolde Carmody was diagnosed with a retinal eye disease known as cone rod dystrophy during her pre-school years.

Born in 1977, Isolde grew up surrounded by people that understood her circumstances as her brother and mother have similar eye conditions.

“I was born with a vision impairment. I never considered my condition in relation to disability or blindness until I went to university, where I was registered as a student with disabilities. I began to learn to use Braille while at university, and a white cane as a mobility aid, but found it very difficult as I was beginning to have problems with pain in my wrists” she explained.

“Also, as an independent young woman, I found that using a white stick made me feel insecure when walking around Dublin at night. I began to consider a Guide Dog as a solution to both these problems. I trained with my first Guide Dog, Quasi, in 2001 when I had just started my post-graduate studies. She gave me new freedom and confidence.”

Guide Dog Izac & Isolde

When Quasi was nearing retirement age Isolde was experiencing greater difficulty with her physical mobility. It was clear she required a Guide Dog to assist with her dual physical and vision impairment. In 2010, Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind trained Isolde with Izac, the organisation’s first dual-trained Guide Dog.

“Quasi was an incredible Guide dog but Izac is truly remarkable. My quality of life is vastly improved with Izac. As well as helping me when I’m out and about, he has made life at home really easy. He even helps me to do my own laundry! He picks up laundry and hands it to me to put into the machine, takes it out and hands it to me to put on the line,” she said.

In 2017 it came Izac’s time to retire and along came Isolde’s new Guide Dog Ari

Ari has learned to retrieve items, pick up fallen objects and open doors among other things just like Izac.

This vital support for Isolde will allow her to continue to live an independent life.

Check out a video of Ari’s final training session below:

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