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Life Saving Work: Luz & Verna

Luz stands with her arm around Verna, a yellow Lab/golden cross in harness, who sits on a raised platform in front of trees full of fall foliage.

“I didn’t have a disease. It happened overnight,” recalls Seeing Eye graduate Luz about her vision loss. Luz was so used to being able to move about on her own freely that when her vision loss occurred, she knew she had to do something immediately to regain her independence.

Luz joined The Seeing Eye’s program in 2021 and was matched with a yellow Lab/golden retriever cross named Verna. According to Luz, Verna is hardworking and loves her job. Luz has even had to get used to the feeling of Verna’s wagging tail bopping along as she guides her.

“She has done a spectacular job. She saved my life.” Luz explains.

This past fall, there were multiple trees being cut down on Luz’s route, which caused a lot of surrounding noise and made it increasingly difficult for Luz to actively listen to the traffic on the streets she was crossing.

At one crossing, Luz gave Verna the forward command because she believed it sounded safe. As Luz and Verna began to cross, Verna suddenly made a right turn and pulled Luz out of the way of an oncoming garbage truck speeding through the stop sign.

After that moment, Luz was so incredibly grateful for all the traffic training Verna did while training to become a Seeing Eye dog. She was also very glad that the instructors at The Seeing Eye worked on traffic training with her and Verna while she was in class so that she knew what Verna was doing the moment she moved Luz away from the oncoming vehicle.

Today, Luz gives presentations to people who are blind and visually impaired to explain what it is like to work with a guide dog and how important advocating for yourself and others is.

“The freedom of the harness is everything,” Luz states.