Christine Pye describes the emotional process of naming the guide dog that her mum's legacy helped to train, and explains why she remained a great supporter of the charity Guide Dogs throughout her later years.
Mum wanted to say thank you for the great pleasure of being able to see
My mum was a unique human being. She always wanted to give something back, and felt very strongly that one of the greatest gifts we have is sight; her donations were a way of showing gratitude for the life she had.
She was badly crippled as a young girl and spent five years in hospital. She loved animals, especially dogs, which is why she was a passionate supporter of Guide Dogs.
For her ruby wedding anniversary she asked people to donate money to name a guide dog. Ten years later, for her golden wedding anniversary, two more guide dogs were named with money she raised. One was named Cassie, after my brother's dog, and the other was called Chay, after my German Shepherd.
Leaving a lasting legacy
When mum died in 2009 it came as no surprise that she had left a gift in her will to Guide Dogs. She wanted to make a difference to people's lives by helping the charity to train more dogs.
...It's a way of celebrating mum and the great sights I enjoy every day, for which I am truly privileged.
It was a lovely thing for her to do and very comforting for me to know that her passion for the charity and the work it does would live on even after she had gone. I wanted to celebrate the things that meant most to mum throughout her life, and it seemed right to raise money in her memory and name a guide dog puppy.
The dog that mum's legacy helped fund had to be a German Shepherd and it had to be named Rex. When she came out of hospital as a child the only friend she had was a German Shepherd dog called Rex, and he meant the world to my mum. There really was no other name we would have considered.
Meeting Rex for the first time was such an emotional experience. I looked at him and thought "Mum's wishes have come true - I've done what she wanted". I felt as though we had achieved something really special in her memory. Since then Guide Dogs has kept me informed about how Rex has been getting on and that has brought me such great joy.
In memory of mum
Following my mum's example I have chosen to leave a gift in my will to name guide dog puppies too. I thought if mum can do it, then so can I. It's the least I can do, and it's a way of celebrating mum and the great sights I enjoy every day, for which I am truly privileged.
I'm so happy to think that at some point in the future my money will go towards some lovely dogs who will go on to become someone's eyes.
Guide Dogs are a member of Remember A Charity. Find out more about their work here.