It’s hard to imagine the very different person Monika was a year ago. In her own words, she was ‘depressed, lonely and frustrated’.
But if you ask her to describe herself today, she’ll quickly give you three very different words: ‘empowered, independent and positive.’
It’s an amazing turnaround – and she puts it all down to her beloved Seeing Eye Dog, Junior.
Monika devoted her early life to raising her six children with her husband, Hector, in Busselton, WA. And it wasn’t easy. For years Monika worked in a meat factory, preparing casings for sausages.
She describes it as:
‘…my smelly job – but it put food on the table. And that was all that mattered to me.
It wasn’t glamorous, but I didn’t care. We just did what we had to do. And we’d do cleaning jobs at night, my husband and I just worked, worked, and worked.’
But while Monika was doing her best to raise her family, she was slowly going blind.
For such an energetic and practical woman, Monika’s diagnosis was, understandably, devastating. She went through a long grieving process. ‘For two years I could not go beyond my front gate’
But all that change when Seeing Eye Dog Junior came into her life. Monika found her new companion nothing short of amazing. Her voice just lifts when she mentions him:
Without Junior I felt I was useless. I’d always needed my husband to accompany me. I’d mooch around the house and feel sorry for myself. You become so dependent on others – that’s the most difficult thing.’
Soon enough, Monika and Junior were doing much more than getting the newspaper:
‘Getting my independence back is so overwhelming. I’d be so lost without Junior.