Visually Impaired Man Raises Thousands for Guide Dogs - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Visually Impaired Man Raises Thousands for Guide Dogs

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Jeff Ezell and Robert, his guide dog. Jeff Ezell and Robert, his guide dog.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Navigating the crowded streets of downtown Nashville could be difficult for anyone. Imagine what it would be like if you were visually impaired.

"I caught a virus about two and a half years ago, and it took my vision pretty quickly," Jeff Ezell said. "It was kind of a shock."

Good thing Ezell has Robert by his side.

"He is my guide dog," he explained. "So he's a very, very special friend of mine. I take him with me almost everywhere that I go."

On Saturday, both embarked on an adventure walk. Each stride was meant to raise money for The Seeing Eye. It's an organization that breeds and trains guide dogs for the visually impaired and blind. In January, they matched Ezell with a yellow Labrador Retriever, Robert.

"Having a guide dog, I feel much more free and independent with the same sort of safety of knowing that he's not going to allow me to bump into things, walk into a busy street or anything like that," Ezell said.

He and Robert started their walk at the State Capitol. They met up with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean at The Seeing Eye historical marker. Then they ventured onto Broadway to have a drink with supporters before continuing. Already they've risen more than $16,500 for the non-profit, just a few thousand dollars short of their $20,000 goal.

"Robert has changed my life in a lot of ways," Ezell said by creating a sense of normalcy, he hopes more people can have, especially when everything around them no longer looks the same.

"He really, really helps me not even just getting around because he's such a wonderful companion to have," Ezell said about Robert. "You know attitudes are contagious, especially good attitudes, and he's about the friendliest dog that I've ever known."

Click here for more information about The Seeing Eye

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