Andris a young man is visually impaired.  Since early childhood he has been dreaming about a dog his own. Finally his dream has come true! Last summer he met Feja and together they started guide dog training. In  December of 2014 they successfully passed the guide dog examination. For Andris that was the most precious and wonderful Christmas present in his life.

The Dog and I

My name is Andris Osans. I am 33 years old and visually impaired. I had three operations in my head and each one of them made my sight worse. Anyway, I am lucky, because I am not as blind as a bat. I got a bachelor’s degree in English philology therefore I work as a translator and tutor of English lessons. Since childhood I have been fond of dogs. Probably, in my previous life I was a dog therefore, I like them so much. I think dogs are man’s most faithful friends. In childhood I had a lot of toy dogs, but they did not affect my desire to have a real pet. I remember that often with tears in my eyes I asked my parents and even Santa Claus to get me one. Unfortunately, all my wishes were ignored. The only comfort was the unforgettable summers spent with my grandmother in the country.

FejaOf course, the grandmother on a farm had a dog. In fact, it is not fair to say that God and Santa Claus ignored my requests. Something wonderful happened on 16th July 2014. I had already met Zaiga Klavina, she is the dog leader in Guide Dog association TEODORS. I hoped that she had noticed how glad I am beside a dog and therefore one day I would become a volunteer in this association. On16th July 2014 my conversation with Zaiga was longer. She shocked me with the unexpected proposal. Unbelievable, but the dog leader offered me a guide dog. This conversation became a turning point in my life. So I got the guide dog Feja. Yes, the long cherished dream had come true. I got both a lovely pet and great assistant. No doubt, it is great deal easier and safer for a visually impaired person to get around on six feet. I wanted to add that a guide dog is not a smart device which is ruled by a clever program. A dog is only a cogwheel in the mechanism. Actually, all of it is based on a strong cooperation between a guide dog and its user. It took quite a while for me and Feja to get used to each other, and as a result we became a good team. A stroll under guidance of a dog excludes any hitches, head on collisions, and everything else that comes along the way. In other words to go for a walk with Feja is a miracle. I remember how hard it was for me to get around in twilight or through crowded streets in the city. Now under guidance of Feja I am ready to go to the end of the world and get over all kinds of obstacles. Yes, we both together can much faster and easier cover any distance. Recently I noticed that we can work together so well that mind-reading works between us. Lately I have realized that Feja has done the right movement before I even said a word. For instance, she guesses what I’m thinking and turns in the right direction.

Anyway, it has happened so often that I can only interpret it as telepathy, and not as a coincidence. It is very sad that the government of Latvia does not support the guide dog movement. Despite that it is good to see that there are people who are missioners for this cause. They do everything in order to increase the number of lucky people like me. The Guide dog association TEODORS take donations in order to purchase and instruct the guide dogs. This association provides visually impaired and blind people with guide dogs in Latvia. Certainly, I am very grateful to all donors, because my dog Feja works wonders in my life.

March 2015