Bob and guide dog Flo on the Go
[Video description for our community of people with vision loss: This video begins with Bob standing at a street corner with Flo, his yellow Labrador in a guide dog harness standing next to him. The video goes on to an image of Bob and Flow standing together on a sidewalk. Bob is wearing a brown jacket and pants. Another image of Bob sitting on a chair wearing a grey sweatshirt and khaki shorts appears on the screen. Flo sits by his side. The video continues with an interview with Bob and images of him working with Flo in the mall, on campus, and in a neighborhood. The video ends with the Southeastern Guide Dogs logo and guidedogs.org on screen.]
Bob Volkerding and guide dog Flo
Eaton, Ohio and Bradenton, Florida
Retinitis pigmentosa progressively diminishes Bob Volkerding’s vision, and friends often encouraged him to get a guide dog. “It started out with night blindness, then tunnel vision, and now there’s only a little left,” he explains. “I finally decided it was time.” Bob has been matched with his first guide, a loving and social yellow Lab named Flo. Flo has already befriended Bob’s chocolate Lab, Zoey, who gladly shared her toys when they met.
This Florida “snowbird” spent over 30 years working for NCR in finance, but vision loss forced his retirement. “I stopped driving 35 years ago,” he says. “That was difficult, but other than that, I’ve adjusted well.” Bob and his wife winter in Florida and travel north for summer where Bob enjoys gardening, yardwork, and going out with friends.
Flo will add a new level of freedom to Bob’s daily living. “I’m looking forward to having a comfortable, secure feeling when I’m out,” he says. “Before now it’s been a real hassle because I bump into people everywhere. I know my dog will help with that.” Every summer, Bob and friends travel to a remote part of Canada for fly fishing, and while he’s planning to skip this summer while he and Flo get used to each other, he’s already planning on taking Flo adventuring the following year.
Just a few weeks ago, Bob met his new friend. Except she’s more than a friend. “She’s going to be my partner,” Bob says. “She’s going to be an extension of my left arm.”