Blind Woman Is Overjoyed Seeing Her Dog For The First Time
"I could see the details of Lucy's face, her beautiful, soulful eyes and her curly eyelashes ... I was overwhelmed."
Mary Sedgwick was in medical school when her vision began to fail. She was diagnosed with bilateral optic neuritis, a progressive condition that eventually led to her being blind — and, in the process, losing sight of her dreams.
“My whole identity I had of myself was as a physician, and suddenly that view of myself vanished,” Sedgwick told The Dodo. “I struggled for several years trying to land my feet on the ground and claw myself out of a deep depression.”
But then she met someone who changed everything for the better.
In 2010, Sedgwick was paired with a service dog named Lucy, trained through a program called Leader Dogs for the Blind. Lucy was just 15 months old at the time they met, and she and Sedgwick hit it off immediately.
“She came leaping into my arms, licking my face and knocking me out of my chair,” Sedgwick said. “I knew in that moment, with the instantaneous bond between Lucy and I, my journey in life was beginning again.”
Since then, the bond between them has only grown stronger. Sedgwick had lost her vision, but gained a faithful friend.
“Lucy serves as my eyes guiding me through life,” Sedgwick said. “She has been trained to alert me to anything that will hinder my forward progress with each step. There is a trust like no other you place in your guide dog, feeling every movement of their body flowing through the harness to your hand.”
But Lucy does more than guide Sedgwick’s way. She also paves the path with love.
“Lucy is extremely affectionate, especially when her very long tongue showers you with wet, slobbery kisses,” Sedgwick said. “She exudes her excitement for life and it is contagious.”
Due to her condition, Sedgwick sees the world as "a gray cloud with shades of lighter and darker tones" obscuring, among everything else, the sweet pup always by her side. But thanks to new technology, that briefly changed.
Sedgwick recently had the opportunity to try a pair of eSight electronic glasses — a device which projects images from a front-facing camera onto a screen inside, optimizing the image to override its user's specific vision limitations. She was reluctant at first, fearing they wouldn't work for her, but with Lucy by her side, she decided to try it out.
It was a highly emotional moment. Seeing her dog for the first time, Sedgwick couldn't help but cry.
"Once they were turned on, I could see the details of Lucy's face, her beautiful, soulful eyes and her curly eyelashes," Sedgwick said. "I was overwhelmed with emotion because I was experiencing a moment that I never dreamt would be possible. The gift of being able to see the external beauty of Lucy matched perfectly to the inner beauty I have always known."
Sedgwick now hopes that seeing Lucy won't be a one-time thing.
Sedgwick's loyal pup has done so much to improve her life already by her presence alone, but seeing her face has inspired new hope that things can be even better.
She wants to purchase a pair of those glasses for herself to use daily, though they are too expensive for her to buy outright. So, Sedgwick has started a fundraiser seeking the public's help to make that possible.
Lucy is irreplaceable in Sedgwick's life, of course. But the possibility of seeing her daily is still something that she dreams of.
"By being given the opportunity to see Lucy in all her beauty has given me hope my life could change drastically with these glasses," Sedgwick said. "The gift of sight will open door after door for me and I am ready to take the next step on my journey, always with Lucy by my side."