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“I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A HIGH ACHIEVER, AND I WOULD LIKE TO STAY THAT WAY.”

Linda Piekarski and her guide dog Ruby in the snowLinda Piekarski has never been in the United States Marines, but that famous slogan of theirs has really inspired her. In fact, that’s exactly what she’s had to do since becoming legally blind nearly a decade ago. Adapt to her vision loss. Improvise new ways of handling the many tasks of daily living and achieving life goals. Overcome any and all obstacles to her independence.

When Linda met her first NHAB caseworker, she told her, “I have always been a high achiever, and I would like to stay that way.” She and everyone at the New Hampshire Association for the Blind truly honored that request.

Linda is determined to continue traveling about independently. Although she can no longer drive, she wasn’t going to give up walking. On her daily walk to work Linda had to navigate a newly constructed Round-About. It wasn’t easy. She knew she needed some advice. Linda called Glenn Gunn, her Orientation & Mobility specialist from the Association, because she wondered if a guide dog might help. Linda remarked that, “Whatever the challenge, Glenn always seemed to have a useful and practical solution.”

With the skills Glenn taught her, she was able to successfully complete training with a guide dog. He worked with her to make the necessary connections. He also knew Linda had a fast walking gait and he recommended she be sure to mention that to the trainers. Fidelco provided In-Community Training so that she did not have to take time from her job. Ruby came into her life and has been by her side for almost two years. Linda says, “Ruby has made me much safer. Ruby and I now walk at least seven miles every day.“

Linda had been searching for a way to “communicate the sense of fun and adventure I feel about life.” As one might expect, she found a way! Linda has been a member of the Monadnock Lions Club for about a year and as of January 14, 2010 she had made 37 presentations to young and old alike, on what it means to have a guide dog. Even though Linda is shy she said “yes” to that first “talk” and has been doing it ever since!

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