Guide dog’s tumour recovery leaves blind Leeds student owner lonely and pleading for a cuddle

A mature student from Leeds is desperate for a cuddle as her guide dog recovers with a boarder after having tumours removed.

Monday, 30th November 2020, 4:45 pm
Kimberley Burrows and guide dog, Tami (photo: Kimberley Burrows)

Kimberley Burrows lost the last of her sight in 2018 and has had guide dog Tami by her side ever since.

But, 100 days ago the pair were separated when the Labrador had her benign tumours removed from her hips and legs.

As Tami recovers with a boarder in Otley, LS3 resident Kimberley ‘has never been so lonely’ and has pleaded with Facebook users to help her find a dog to cuddle.

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Kimberley Burrows and her guide dog, Tami

In a post on Facebook, the art student said: “I've never been so lonely and so desperate to have my best friend back.

“We've been through everything together, including me losing the last of my sight in 2018, and have never been apart for so long.

“The loneliness is slowly chipping away at me and the only thing I'm waking up for is to make my paintings in the night.

“What I would like to ask is... does anyone have a Labrador that I could possibly sit with and cuddle on for an hour?

“I would never dream of reaching out and asking for help but my isolation is taking my mind into dark places and I really need some comfort. This is all I can think of.”

Kimberley usually lives alone with guide dog Tami.

The 32-year-old received a wealth of responses 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.

Kimberley added: “After making some enquiries I’m now hoping that I’ll be able to spend some time with my guide dog while she recovers.

“I do wish this had been an option earlier in the process as I’m on day 100 without her now.

“I’m hoping by Tuesday I’ll have some plans in place to start to meet her before she comes home.

“I think I might even be allowed to take her up into my student accommodation for an hour or two if the weather isn't very nice outside, and we can cuddle and cry.”

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.