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judges 2011


Entry Category Guide & Hearing Dogs
Charity Partner Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation
Location Bloomfield, Connecticut


“If it weren’t for my Fidelco Guide Dog Legend, I might be sitting at home, living at the bottom of a bottle of scotch for the rest of my life.”
“Legend” gives Air Force TSgt Matthew Slaydon a reason to keep living.
As the point person for an explosive ordinance disposal team, it was Matthew’s job to “take the long walk” to identify bombs and safely disarm them; a job he’d done more than 100 times.
On a fateful October day in Kirkuk, Iraq, Matthew slid his probe under a bomb. It blew up two feet from his face. Thrown 30 feet from the blast site, his left arm and both eyes were destroyed.
“I went from being active and deployed eight months out of the year to feeling like a prisoner at home, retired. It felt like a fate worse than death.”
Beyond the freedom, independence and safety Legend provides, Matthew says the bond is life-changing. “He loves me; he gives me a reason to get out of bed and get out of the house. He is something I can look after.”
And most of all, Legend gives Matt hope for his future. “Many of my dreams were left in the dirt of Kirkuk, but Legend’s given me hope that I can build new ones.”

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