Blind Leeds student opens up about 'terrible depression' without 'best friend' guide dog as she reveals adorable reunion

A blind Leeds art student has revealed the moment she was finally reunited with her guide dog after opening up about her 'terrible depression' while spending more than 200 days away from her.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 11:45 am
Kimberley Burrows reunited with her labrador guide dog on Tuesday after over 200 days apart (photos: Kimberley Burrows)

Kimberley Burrows has had guide dog Tami by her side ever since she lost the last of her sight in 2018 - until August last year.

The labrador had to have some benign tumours removed from her hips and legs, and so Tami had to be taken away from Kimberley while she recovered with a boarder.

Now, 213 days later, the pair have been reunited and Kimberley has spoken out about the 'terrible depression' she suffered without her pooch - and revealed that she had 'even considered some of the worst things imaginable'.

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The 32-year-old opened up on social media, telling Leeds residents that the pair had missed both of their birthdays together in November, and Christmas and New Year which left her 'lonely and isolated' with no family or friends in the city at the time.

Kimberley said that Tami has now 'recovered perfectly' and the pair had their first walk in harness on Tuesday - leaving her feeling like 'no time' had passed without her pup.

She expressed what a 'dream' Tami is to work with and how much easier she makes being blind - adding that she has her freedom and smile when Tami is with her.

In a post on a Leeds residents Facebook group, Kimberley pleaded with people to hug their 'so, so special' dogs 'tight' as she admitted she has 'never felt so happy'.

Kimberley's heartfelt post on Tuesday which received thousands of likes and hundreds of supportive comments said: "Hello Leedsplace!

"If you remember me posting before Christmas, I am the blind lady studying in Leeds who was without her Guide Dog for such a long time while Tami had several tumours removed and was recovering from her surgeries.

"We missed both of our birthdays together in November, missed Christmas and New Year, and I went into a terrible depression - even considering some of the worst things imaginable as I was so lonely and isolated without any family or friends here.

"I wanted to update you all that 213 days later, we are finally reunited and we had our first walk in harness this morning. Tami has recovered perfectly and it's like no time has passed between us at all!! Working with her is such a dream and she makes being blind so much easier. I have my freedom and my smile when she is with me.

"I could not be prouder of her and I have never felt so happy. Please hug your dogs tight tonight, they are so, so special.

"Sending my love to you, Leeds."

When the pair had been apart for 100 days in November 2020, Kimberley made a plea on the same social media page for users to help her find a dog to cuddle as she had 'never been so lonely'.

She said she was 'so desperate' to have her 'best friend' back - who she usually lives alone with.

The art student received a wealth of responses at the time but after one dog meeting was cancelled due to the owner having to isolate with Covid, she became aware of safety concerns she had not previously considered and was left without a dog to cuddle.

Kimberley was born as a premature baby with congenital cataracts and spent a great part of her childhood travelling to London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital having appointments and operations to have cataract removal surgery on both eyes before having interocular lenses.

In 2018, Kimberley had her retinas detached and was left fully blind.

She is a student at Leeds Arts University and is in her final year of the BA (Hons) Illustration course and uses art as her autobiographical diary and a therapy tool.

Kimberley hopes to have a website online and shop available in the near future, having had interest in her prints, original canvases and other little handmade gifts with her patterns on.

The 32-year-old randomly chooses colours from her palette and always listens to music and translates her feelings and experiences into her pieces through movement.

Kimberley is more aggressive with her mark making when she’s having a bad day and hopes that comes through in her artwork to the sighted audience.

She is originally from Manchester and has been a regular volunteer at sight loss charity Henshaws Society for Blind People, helping to teach Braille and giving speeches sharing her sight loss story.