From Teen to “Adulting” with Help from Guide Dog Mallee

Bailey Locklear and Guide Dog Mallee
Lakeland, Florida 

“Vision loss makes me who I am,” explains Bailey Locklear, who was born legally blind from optic nerve hypoplasia. “Every mountain I’ve gotten thrown at me, I’ve learned to overcome and be the best that I can be for myself—I push through, no matter what.” With her cheerful, can-do attitude, this recent high school graduate and former cheerleader and gymnast is ready to make her way in the world. And beside her, guiding her, Bailey now has help from a laid-back, happy yellow Lab named Mallee (pronounced Molly).

“She’s smart and she looks out for me all the time,” says Bailey, who prayed long and hard before coming for her first guide dog. Now that Mallee is an answer to prayer, Bailey has a lot to look forward to. She had never been to a grocery store completely alone and she’s not yet gone to college, but all of that will soon change as she plans to attend Southeastern University next year.

“I think every blind person has some anxiety,” she says. “You can’t see what’s around you or who’s around you. It’s nerve-wracking. But with Mallee, I’m looking forward to going somewhere independently, without anybody, and feeling accomplished…feeling the independence I’ve wanted to feel for years but was afraid of feeling. Now I feel that comfort instead. I can see a difference!”

Your commitment to our dogs and the people who need them is critical – especially now. Because of COVID-19 postponements, we anticipate that the waiting list for one of our dogs will be greater than ever before. Your support today will bring hope to a veteran with a disability, a person with vision loss, or a child with a significant challenge. Make a difference—donate now.

Southeastern Guide Dogs

Posted on April 15, 2020 | Category: Blog