Meet Youlanda and guide dog Cody

Anaridia eye condition

Youlanda Daffron walks with golden retriever Cody down the sidewalks of St. Pete. [Pictured: Woman wearing a blue shirt and black pants walks along a brick sidewalk with a golden retriever in a guide dog harness. The sidewalk is lined by a picket fence.]

Youlanda Daffron has overcome a lot: bouncing around from one foster home to another from Oklahoma to Florida, being separated from her six siblings, and coping with an inherited eye disease called Anaridia, as well as cataracts and torn corneas. Always resilient, she graduated from high school and attended college despite multiple failed surgeries. A guide dog named James was her companion until he passed away in 2014. Now that Youlanda resides only two miles from Southeastern Guide Dogs, a new hero named Cody has entered the picture.

With moments when he is “very energetic” and others where he just wants to “lay here and sleep,” this golden retriever has charmed Youlanda by “smiling a lot and loving to play, especially with his buddies.” Cody will be busy, as Youlanda stays active through martial arts and live action roleplaying, even being cast at the Sarasota Medieval Fair and making her own chain mail. “I always find a way, especially if someone says I can’t do something,” she states with conviction. “I say, ‘Watch me!’” She enjoys walks; is learning to play the ukulele; and works full time at Envision America, a company that makes adaptive technology for the visually impaired. “I’m glad they found a match for me here,” she says. “I was very excited, as were my co-workers. They’ve been very supportive.”

Posted on October 26, 2017 | Category: Blog, Graduates