Faith and Prim, An Ambitious Dynamic Duo
Faith Snapp has big aspirations. She definitely has a lot on her plate as a rising Sophomore at West Texas A&M University pursuing a pre-vet path and heavily involved in Texas FFA where she recently retired as a State Officer, but she enjoys every step of her journey with Prim, her trusty guide dog companion.
Faith is most passionate about her involvement in Texas FFA. FFA is a youth leadership organization that is rooted in agriculture; They focus on providing youth skills such as raising livestock, competing in contests, and leadership to cultivate the next generation of advocates for the agricultural industry. Faith began junior FFA in grade 3, and gradually progressed from a Chapter Officer, District Officer, Area Officer and finally became a State Officer last year. For Faith, Texas FFA allowed her to pursue her passion of serving her peers and community but it also played a major role in her getting Prim. At Faith’s first Texas FFA state convention as a high school Freshman, her mother discovered a Guide Dogs for the Blind booth and brought home a pamphlet. She eventually applied to GDB knowing that she was under the minimum age for a guide dog, but was surprisingly approved and notified about a match a year later. “The reason I got accepted to get a guide at such a young age is because of the responsibilities and opportunities I gained from FFA. I was mature enough to handle Prim at a young age,” says Faith.
The accommodations GDB and it’s volunteer community have made for Faith’s special circumstance are truly amazing. GDB was able to offer in-home training for Faith during her Christmas break rather than the traditional campus stay. When first meeting Prim, Faith felt an immediate connection with her: “She was so cute and so willing to work with me.” Over the 2 weeks, the two were able to work in areas Faith would visit often including her high school, neighborhood, the mall, and even college campuses. Faith also enjoyed a surprise graduation ceremony in the presence of her family, friends, Prim’s puppy raisers, and the James Madison FFA puppy club members. “I will never forget that moment and it was so encouraging. The people of GDB were so kind and happy about my accomplishment and it meant the world to me,” says Faith.
Faith and Prim have experienced so many adventures so far. Faith does have some vision and was competent with the cane, but Prim became an extra “tool” to help her accomplish what she wanted. “Prim has allowed me to do so many things like traveling across the country, navigating alone, which is something I’ve never thought I’d be able to do. When I got Prim, I started flying independently to FFA events and often went to Washington state to see my puppy raiser friend.” The two also continue learning new skills with backchaining and target practice, and Prim can now find certain people and places. “Prim is a set of eyes for me. I love my friends and family’s help, but it’s freeing to be able to go anywhere by myself.”
Faith also attributes her FFA success to Prim. The two attended dozens of events, activities, board meetings, and conventions where as State Officer, Faith had a responsibility to collaborate with fellow officers, volunteers, and ultimately serve over 139,000 members across the state of Texas. At these events, Prim served as an icebreaker to meet new people and allowed Faith to be confident in her speaking and social skills and build friendships. “I was able to share my love for Prim with everyone, and my friends and peers accepted her with love!” says Faith. At the FFA state convention last June, Faith talked about Prim in her retirement address. “I remember having Prim when I got my first FFA jacket, and when I retired as State Officer I took off my jacket for the very last time with her. To have Prim in both of those moments was so cool. It was definitely special to have memories with Prim through all those unique moments growing up.” The accomplishments they have achieved with this friendship are truly inspiring.
Faith describes Guide Dogs for the Blind as “Family. No matter what, they are always there for me. We’ve just had never ending support from a community that loves us and welcomes us and I’m forever grateful.” She is currently pursuing a pre-vet path with hopes of helping animals one day. “I’ve wanted to be a vet since I was little, but getting Prim solidified that choice for me. I thought that if I’m this successful with Prim so far, I don’t see why I (or another guide dog if she retires) can’t go to vet school with me. I’m very excited for my next chapter in life with Prim!”