Meet Marisol and guide dog Kathy
Marisol Manken experienced a car accident when she was 21 years old. Eleven years later, everything went white – all in one day – and she couldn’t see.
“I saw four specialists and the fifth said it was a damaged optic nerve from head trauma from my car accident,” she said.
Frightened and traumatized, Marisol remained shut in her house for several years. “I didn’t want to go out the door and I didn’t do anything out on my own.”
After her son was born, she and her husband moved from St. Augustine to Fernandina Beach. Getting lost in a new neighborhood and caring for her young son gave Marisol the motivation she needed to come for her first guide dog, a sweet, mellow black Labrador named Kathy.
Kathy has been a huge comfort to Marisol, who found it hard to leave her son for 26 days of training. “When I’m having a moment, she puts her head on my lap,” she says. “She knows when I’m having my emotions.”
Most importantly, Kathy is giving Marisol new confidence. After living on her own since age 15, Marisol looks forward to regaining her independence again. “I feel more positive,” she says. “I feel more independent, and I’m looking forward to the future.”