NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — While students begin to navigate the campus of Illinois State University this fall, freshman Ethan Edwards is getting a little help navigating his way, thanks to his guide dog Ginsburg.
Ethan was born with a condition called Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis(LCA), he said it leaves him without any usable vision.
He was able to get his guide dog, Ginsburg, through the non-profit Guide Dogs for the Blind. The group provides guide dogs at no cost to those who receive them.
“They have two campuses, a California campus, and an Oregon campus, and I went out in late April to get Ginsburg,” said Edwards.
Ethan said he had some worries before coming to campus, but Ginsburg has been there by his side.
“It’s obviously any incoming freshman’s concern of like ‘gosh I hope I don’t get lost on the campus,’ but a lot of that concern was erased by having him, it’s really boosted my confidence a lot, it’s been a total life changer,” said Edwards.
Ethan and Ginsburg prepared beforehand by mapping out the routes they’ll be taking to class.
“I would bring him here, and we would work on where all the different buildings were, all the different classrooms, just to kind of get a feel so it wasn’t totally foreign coming in on day one,” said Edwards.
Ethan said overall Ginsburg has helped him both physically and emotionally.
“He is amazing in the harness, he’s amazing at his work, he is also totally my best friend, out of harness he’s totally a normal dog, he’s a total puppy at heart,” said Edwards.
He said he’s excited to experience college and work toward a degree in journalism. And he’ll have Ginsburg to help guide him along the way.