Guide dog gives Epworth woman newfound independence - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Guide dog gives Epworth woman newfound independence

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For any 18-year-old, the start of your college career can be a daunting task.

But for Rebecca Rauen, who has serious vision issues, it was even harder.

"It's difficult to see some movement. It's hard to see out of the central vision," she said.

The Epworth woman was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a child, and her vision has deteriorated ever since.

"I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing, but it's difficult, even with a cane to get around," she added.

Enter Tippet, the 18-month-old guide dog she was recently given, thanks the organization Guide Dogs for the Blind.

She went through rigorous training, then had two more weeks of training alongside Rebecca,  and is now back home with her, giving her independence she's never known before.

"I've gained a lot more confidence in myself and the ability that I can do whatever and go wherever.  And not have to worry about, oh, is there a curb there that I'm not going to notice and trip over? Or, is there this sign that I can't see with my cane because it's hanging, so my cane's not going to notice it?"

Rauen believes she's one of very few people with guide dogs in the area, and wants people to know not to interact with her dog as he's working.  

But when the harness is off, Tippet is a loving dog, and Rauen says he's become a fantastic companion.

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