Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness: First-Time Experience in Owning a Dog Guide by Older Adults with Vision Loss

14 November 2019
Source: Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Introduction:
In spite of the vast amount of literature on pet therapy and dog companionship, limited studies exist on older adults with vision loss and the experience of owning a dog guide. The purpose of this study is to explore the facilitators and barriers of first-time ownership and utilization of a dog guide as experienced by older adults with vision loss.

Methods:
Data were gathered among seven participants using open-ended semistructured telephone interviews. Participants described their experiences related to owning a dog guide. Using phenomenological analysis, themes were extracted from verbatim transcriptions.

Results:
Through constant comparison methods, five themes emerged: increased responsibilities for new dog guide owners, changes in habits and routines, quick human–dog guide bonding, increase in community integration, and enhancement of autonomy through dog guide ownership.

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