Paralympian Champion Libby Clegg: “My guide dog is my freedom” | Dogalize
This is the story of Libby Clegg, one of Britain most successful Paralympians, winning a total of seven gold and eight silver medals during her career so far.
Clegg was diagnosed with an eye condition called Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy when she was nine years old, causing her sight to slowly deteriorate and leaving her with only slight peripheral vision in her left eye.
The loss of vision can heavily impact everyday life and Libby knows well, unfortunately. 180,000 people with visual impairment never leave home alone, while 50 per cent have reported feeling cut off from the people and things going on around them. Dog guides are a great help for these people, sometimes the only way to live a life as normal as possible.
Before Clegg got Hatti, her black retriever/Labrador cross guide dog, last year, she was nearly hit twice by electric cars and had been using a white cane, something she says made her feel “quite vulnerable, especially at night”.
“I nearly had an accident with a car once; now, having Hatti, I feel much more confident and comfortable, and more able to ask people for help if I need to”.
Hatti accompanies Clegg to training sessions and has given her the confidence to get around independently: “Without Hatti, I’m not me.She gives me the freedom to do what I want and live my life how I want.”
Clegg and Hatti have been nominated for the Inspirational Guide Dog Owner award thanks to her athletics achievements and their work as Guide Dogs ambassadors. The pair regularly support the charity’s campaign work on issues affecting people with sight loss.