I Am Local 6: Daisy, seeing eye dog, meets handler
A local woman entrusts her life to a dog. Brenda Mathes is legally blind and navigates the city of Martin, Tennessee, with her guide dog Daisy.
Instead of a casual stroll downtown, Brenda, Daisy, and trainer Bryant O’Neill are a team hard at work.
“She’s cute and cuddly, but she’s a worker. She’s a guide dog, and that’s her service to me,” said Mathes.
Mathes relies on Daisy to see for her.
“She’s got to really be able to get me through any situation I encounter in my life.” said Mathes.
The two have been training with O’Neill for the past several days, creating the bond between dog and handler.
“Blindness does not take a day off for them, and they need their dog to be able to get them where they need to go,” said O’Neill.
Mathes and Daisy have to navigate everyday life, whether it’s walking down the street or crossing it.
“I know when I grab that harness at the beginning of the morning that my life is entrusted in her,” said Mathes.
O’Neill is with FIDELCO, a nonprofit organization that trains German Shepherds to become guide dogs, then places them around the country at no cost to the recipient. Daisy is the street name for the canine. Her real name remains a secret to curb distractions.
“If I were to give out her real name, not only would my safety be at risk, but her ability to be able to focus and to be able to do her job,” said Mathes.
An important job that “Daisy” was born to do.