In 2008, Matt Sherwood became visually impaired, but despite living in New York City, he didn’t think he needed a guide dog at the time. He was perfectly fine just using his cane to get around. He knew how busy New York streets could be, so he was worried a guide dog would only slow him down.
It wasn’t until 2018, after lots of bumps and bruises, that Sherwood finally decided that it was time to look for a guide dog. He went to the Guide Dog Foundation on Long Island, which is where he was paired with Chris. Chris is a Black Labrador Retriever, and despite Sherwood’s assumptions of a guide dog slowing him down, Chris proved to be fast, efficient, and of course, loving.
Becoming visually impaired was extremely hard on Sherwood at first. He was 24 at the time, so he was used to driving to different places up until that point. Now, he has a 90-minute commute to work from Long Island to New York City. He has to take the Long Island Railroad as well as multiple subways. For several years, he did this simply by feeling around with his cane, but now Chris makes the journey much easier for him.
With Chris, Sherwood feels safer moving around the city. Chris helps him avoid obstacles and keeps him safe as they travel. Plus, Sherwood’s cane wasn’t an amazing companion like Chris is. Therefore, right away, Sherwood was glad he decided to get a guide dog. Chris is so fast when he’s guiding that Sherwood often refers to him as his “Lab-orghini.”
Sherwood commented on how Chris not only helps him get to work, but he makes everything faster and more efficient. He also pointed out that the world is less stressful when you have a loving dog by your side at all times.
“I would drive to the store or drive to the train station, and you lose that,” said Sherwood. “But now, I gained so much with Chris. Like I said, now I drive a black Lab-orghini and I almost got a part of myself back.”
When Chris is at home with his harness off, he acts just like a typical dog. He loves playing with toys, going to the dog park, and cuddling. He is not only an amazing guide dog for Sherwood, but he is also a member of the family.
Guide dogs are amazing animals that help people’s lives every single day. Chris is just one of the many talented guide dogs out there that can guide even on the busy streets of New York. These incredible dogs should be recognized on a daily basis for the amazing work they do.
Featured Image: Screenshot, Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind YouTube
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