AMY Sinning’s life has recently taken a dramatic turn for the better and it is all down to one four-legged creature.
The Rockingham mother suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition that causes severe vision impairment.
She began to lose her sight when she was 12 but was not diagnosed with the disease until 24.
But thanks to her guide dog Mena, Ms Sinning has gained back some of her independence and locals will soon grow familiar with the heartwarming sight of the inseparable pair navigating their way around town.
On October 30, the pair successfully completed their training together surrounded by family, friends and representatives from Guide Dogs WA.
“A guide dog is life-changing,” Ms Sinning said.
“I have known Mena since March and things are always improving.”
Ms Sinning said the greatest effect of losing her sight was realised when she became a mother of two children.
When her eldest child could not go to the park, events after school and to parties as often as her friends could, she began to distance herself from her mother.
“(My eldest) would ask why I can’t drive her to school like her other friends’ mums (and) I have to remind her that mummy’s eyes don’t see well and I am not allowed to drive,” Ms Sinning said.
That feeling did not begin to go away until she received Mena, and life has not been the same since.
“I am really thankful because my kids have more opportunity now. My independence, because of Mena, means they can do so much more,” she said.
There are three eligibility requirements to apply for a guide dog: meet the criteria for legal blindness, be at least 16 years old and live in WA.
It takes two years and more than $35,000 to train a guide dog and Guide Dogs WA relies on the support of the community to fund the guide dog program.