Life is looking amazing

How was my life before I got my Guide Dog Yazz? It was difficult. From having vision till I was 19, then to losing my vision when I was 20. I had many ailments and illnesses. I went through depression and it took a long time to come to terms with, but I got there with the help of family friends and many establishments such as the NCBI, Vision Sports Ireland, Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind and the FAI Football For All Programme.

Matthew & Yazz and Irish football legend Roy Keane
Matthew & Yazz with Irish football legend Roy Keane

I had a long cane and was highly embarrassed to use it as I was stubborn and did not want people seeing me as a blind individual.  I didn’t get out very often when I used a cane. The only times I would go out was with my brother Colin and friends and to train in the gym. I came upon the FAI who were trying to develop a blind soccer team so I tried it and instantly fell back in love with sports and sports are now a major part of my life as I play at the elite level as a capped Irish international.

My life now since I have my Guide Dog Yazz has completely changed. I am a lot more independent. If I need to go anywhere, Yazz will take me there safely and in style.

People say the dogs are a lot of work but he is everything to me. If I’m to go anywhere Yazz has brought me there. I’m not just an individual anymore, I’m a team – it’s Matthew and Yazz. When Yazz is not guiding me he just wants to play or get lots of rubs. If I go upstairs, he is at the bottom of the stairs waiting till I come down. Dogs are in need of a little looking after for a huge return such as independent living, being able to have a social life and most importantly a companion, a best friend and a new team to spend the journey of life with. Yazz has completely changed my life and I could not be happier. Life is a lot brighter and I smile a lot more now.

My Guide Dog Yazz means the world to me. I would be lost without Yazz. He is a best friend, a super dog companion. He is amazing with kids as he loves to play and is a character and charmer. Yazz is part of the family now. I could not be the way I am now if it was not for Yazz. He brings me anywhere I want to go and a lot quicker compared to using a cane. Friends of mine have dubbed him a small horse as he is so eager to please when he works.

I cannot describe what Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind do for people like myself. I cannot thank them enough. I thought I couldn’t do anything anymore. I’ve learned to cook, clean and live independently. I’m taking on triathlons and have done multiple martial arts. Yazz gives me a reason to get up in the mornings and I’m currently on the job hunt.

Life is looking amazing with a fantastic partner.

 

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