Visually impaired LSU football fan aims to catch a Tigers game (with a dog’s help)

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA/WGMB) — It doesn’t take long to learn that LSU’s quest for a national football title is bringing a feast for the senses. But Noble Ellington shares a deeper sense — for the game’s true meaning.

Ellington, 28, enjoys the sounds and companionship of Tigers football fandom, while being visually impaired since birth.

“My savior made me blind for a reason,” he told BRProud.com. “I don’t know what the reason is yet, but I’m not going to lie down and not live my life.”

That’s where Buckley, Ellington’s new guide dog, comes in. The dog arrived a few weeks ago from Guiding Eyes for the Blind. The Westchester County, N.Y.-based nonprofit provides trained animals free of charge.

“He likes to cuddle,” Ellington said of Buckley. “He likes to play when he wants to, he loves to just lay around, and he knows when to work.”

Thanks to his new dog, the lifelong LSU fan hopes to do what he never felt comfortable doing before, attending a Tigers game without human assistance. Should his team defeat the Oklahoma Sooners on Dec. 28, he’d like to catch the National Championship Game in New Orleans on Jan. 13.

“If I wanted to go by myself, I could, without having to depend on other people,” Ellington said.

Buckley would help his owner navigate crowds, find his seat at games, plus lend comfort when challenges arise.

“I’ve been ashamed of my vision before,” Ellington said. “But over time, I’ve learned people have it worse than I do. I can still walk. I can still talk.”

“It’s taken me a long time, but I’m more open about my vision than I used to be,” he added.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind has been around since 1954. Today, it boasts more than a thousand active guide dogs around the world.

The organization relies on donations for breeding, raising, training and matching guide dogs with clients.

If you’re interested in Guiding Eyes for the Blind’s mission, visit GuidingEyes.org.

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