Branch volunteer Jade McCormack was matched with Guide Dog ‘Winter’, late last year and in this article Jade describes her life since welcoming Winter. “In October 2022 after almost four years without a dog, I was finally matched with a beautiful black Lab retriever cross named Winter. Winter from the minute she waltzed through the door, took centre stage in the house. She has lots of little quirks that make her who she is, one of them being that she is a creature of comfort and can often be found snuggled in her bed with a stolen blanket or lying on the mat curled up by my daughter as she plays. After using only my cane for almost four years, I had forgotten the freedom having a guide dog can give you. With a lot of guidance and advice from my excellent trainer, after two weeks Winter and I were flying solo and it has been a phenomenal experience ever since. Winter has given me back the confidence to go out and about and not worry that I’m going to walk into things like cars parked on footpaths and obstacles that can often impact the way for those of us who are vision impaired. I can safely take my daughter to and from places like school or the shops and be safe in the knowledge that Winter is beside me helping and guiding me safely every step of the way. Winter has enhanced my independence in the best possible way by allowing me to grow in confidence and providing unconditional love even if I do forget the treats sometimes. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for my fluffer and I over the next while.” We wish Jade and Winter the very best of luck in the future and will provide any updates we receive. If you are interested in volunteering with us please feel free to contact our Balbriggan/North County Dublin Branch of Irish Guide Dogs by phone/text: 085 7663107, Email: GuideDogsBalbriggan@gmail.com or find us on Facebook: Balbriggan Branch of Guide Dogs.