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ENJOYING LIFE WITH A GUIDE DOG

Kristen Hallee walking with guide dog PosadaKristin was born with cataracts and diagnosed with glaucoma at the age of 4.

She graduated with honors from Rivier College in 2008 with a degree in Behavioral Science and a Major in Early Childhood Education and Human Development with a Minor in Special Education. A 4-year program became 6 years due to multiple surgeries to bring the glaucoma under control. The New Hampshire Association for the Blind has worked with Kristin since 2003 and continues to take pride in her successes.

Kristin thought about getting a guide dog for 2 years. She had mastered the use of a white cane “but it didn’t find everything” and “made me nervous about going alone to new places.” Though Kristin has gone to medical appointments in Boston by herself via white cane, bus and subway, she mentioned that “having a guide dog would be helpful not only for safe travel but also for companionship.” According to Kristin, having a guide dog would “make my life fuller that it already is.” It certainly has.

Recently an email came in from Kristin. She wrote:

“I am proud to say that I just finished my first full month of work (April 2010) for a program called The Children’s Pyramid at The Nashua Center. The Nashua Center has many programs that serve people who have mild to severe developmental issues. The Children’s Pyramid provides in-home services to children birth to age three.

The children receive OT, PT, speech, behavioral therapy, educational support, and ABA therapy (play therapy). I am an ABA teacher. My job is to provide play opportunities that combine all of the skills that all of the other therapists are work on with the child. I currently have only one client, a 2.5 year old girl who has low-functioning autism. I go to her house everyday and play with her for two hours.

When I took Posada with me for the first time, I witnessed the most AMAZING thing I have ever seen in a child! With Posada lying next to us while we played, this little girl stopped the high-pitched screaming, kicking, punching, and biting. Her attention span increased to an acceptable two minutes and she was just more relaxed. I am so proud and thankful for Posada every day. I am even more proud that she is helping other people. I’m not sure what she thinks about her job as a guide dog, but I think she enjoys it!”

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