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Cody the Guide Dog

 
Cody the Guide Dog

     Cody is a one-year old golden lab, by night he’s a family pet, but during the day he’s a working guide dog.

      His owner, Steve Cardenas, suffered vision loss several years ago, and with that he also lost his independence. It wasn’t until he found Guide Dogs of Texas in San Antonio that he felt as if he got his life back.

      “I was always scared of bumping into somebody or looking foolish with the white cane most people with vision loss use,” Cardenas said. “But after meeting with Guide Dog of Texas and getting my first dog, I left all that fear behind.”

      Cody is Cardenas second dog, his first dog Willow recently went into retirement, it was a bond that he says was difficult to replace.

      “Guide Dogs of Texas does a very good job picking out the dog that’s right for the you, and I knew replacing Willow would be difficult but Cody has been amazing,” he said. “He’s a little rambunctious but younger dogs are…his energy has been exactly what I need to complete my daily tasks.”

      Cody is responsible for getting Cardenas to his location safely. It takes weeks of training as a pair, to make sure both the the dog and owner can work together as a team with the same goal in mind.

      “He gives me the confidence to step out the front door,” Cardenas said. “It can be a scary thing to walk out in a busy street or area and let a dog maneuver you through traffic and crowds…. But I leave fear behind every day, that’s how strongly I feel about guide dogs.”

      Cody makes it possible to go out and live life as normal as possible, which is extremely important when you have a family to think about, Cardenas said.

      “We get dressed together and we make our way out the door...once I reach for my harness, [Cody] knows… I’m ready he’s ready,” he said. “And when the day is over and we have down time, he can relax and as our family pet.”

     Guide Dogs of Texas is a nonprofit that is devoted to helping all their clients regain their independence, freedom and mobility back, no matter their financial situation.

      “The cost of the guide dog is only $1 for everyone… everything else needed is paid for straight through donations,” Cardenas said. “Cody and the other dogs are heroes in their own right, but so are the people who help make the guide dog school possible.”

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