The charity Guide Dogs has launched its Guide Dogs Week campaign with a video about first dates. One of the stars of the video, Laura Bradley, outlines five ways having a guide dog can help people with sight loss in their dating lives:

Laura Bradley

Laura Bradley

Getting there:

First and foremost, without my guide dog Autumn, I wouldn’t be able to leave the house on my own to go on a date in the first place. Getting to a restaurant or a bar or the cinema would be a wholly different proposition, and not something I could manage alone (which sort of hinders your dating life). If you can’t just go and do these things like everyone else, the chances of meeting someone new are much smaller, so in one way, Autumn is the best dating app there is!

The ice-breaker:

Having a guide dog is a great conversation starter. Generally, people are interested in Autumn and what she does for me, and it really helps to have something to talk about if we’re both a bit nervous at the start of a date where the conversation can be a bit awkward.

The handy filter:

I can learn a lot about someone quite quickly by the way they interact with Autumn. I’m not saying everyone I date has to be a mad dog-lover or even have a dog of their own, but they have to at least ‘get’ it and be open to the big part Autumn plays in my life and embrace that. If they can’t, they’re probably not the person for me.  

Confidence:

It’s really important to have confidence when you’re dating. Going with Autumn is like taking a (quiet and obedient!) friend with you. You know she’s there, you know she’s got your back however well or badly it goes and you take your confidence from her. She really helps with those pesky first date nerves.

Options:

It’s wonderful to not have to worry about where we go and what we do on a date. Say for example it’s going well and we want to go on somewhere else, even somewhere I haven’t been before, I can do that with confidence because I have Autumn and I know she will get me there and get me home. I think people with sight take this amazing freedom of choice for granted sometimes, but I wouldn’t have that without Autumn. With her, I can just relax and be me, which is the most important thing of all isn’t it?

Guide Dogs Week is 7-15 October and we need your help to make sure people with sight loss don’t lose out on life. Do something you love and Move it for Money to raise vital funds for Guide Dogs. www.guidedogs.org.uk/guidedogsweek