2016-07-24-liepajaI used to be afraid of dogs. When dog trainer Zaiga Kļaviņa brought the dog, in whose honor the Service dog association TEODORS is named, to the youth camp “A Bridge to Success”, I kept as far away from the dog as possible, because I could not understand how such a large beast could help anyone.

However, in time, I overcame my fear of dogs after regularly meeting Teodors and his master Aleksejs at various events. I began to understand the difference between a trained dog and an ordinary one, and I began to think about the possibility that I too could one day have my own guide dog. I am now guided around every day by a light brown female dog named Rīga. I found out that my dog is named Rīga about a month before I met her. At first, I was worried that the dog would jump up every time she heard her name, but it turned out that I had nothing to worry about. In her work, Rīga is very obedient and diligent, but once she’s let off her leash, she runs faster than the wind. She loves travelling, which is something that we have done more than usual this year, because we took part in a project for guide dog owners organised by the Service dog association TEODORS and the Latvian Library for the Blind in various cities around Latvia.

From day to day, we are continually on the move. We can often be encountered on the streets of Rīga, because I work for two NGOs. Firstly, I run the Riga Society for the Visually Impaired and Blind “Redzi mani” (“See Me”), which was founded 18 months ago, and secondly I also work for the Latvian Society for the Blind’s Riga City organisation, I attend various cultural events, as well as going about my other everyday business.

Rīga has introduced the lightness of movement to my life, because I can be sure that the dog will guide me around the most diverse obstacles and that together we will arrive everywhere we planned to.

Līga Ķikute, August 2016.