Hi ladies,

All of you regulars will be well familiar with Reva, my black lab guide dog whose been making cameos in my YLF shots almost since I joined the forum 10 years ago. Well, after a long and amazing career by my side, the time has come for her to retire and enjoy her twilight years. At age 11 she's already worked well beyond when most guide dogs hang it up, and she and I are both unbelievably lucky that she's been in good health all her life. Even now my darling Revie is spry and perky, but she's more than earned the right to some quality time living on my parents' rural property being spoiled rotten.
And so begins the complex process of getting her successor. The emotional side of this is a topic I won't get into right now (though be warned, an OT thread may well be in the offing). I will instead focus on the practical aspects of building a guide dog school travel capsule (god, Michelle, enough with these played-out/routine forum requests! :p)

I will be going to New Jersey on May 27, so summer clothing for my easily over-heated self will be the order of the day. I obviously have some pieces already (white cropped jeans, wide-legged cropped pants, some tops I'm still happy with, a dress or two to feel like myself). But because of the purpose of this trip, I feel it would be smart to design my entire wardrobe around my footwear. And in this case, this footwear will largely consist of sneakers. I will, after all, be walking several kilometres a day as I learn to work with my new canine partner.

I have large, wide, stupid feet with high arches, so I always find shoe shopping a tremendous chore. But I know many of you may have suggestions for sneakers that would do all of the following: look fashionable in any outfit context, come in a pretty summery neutral, be able to do time as actual serious walking shoes, and be found in Canada. I strongly suspect lace-up shoes will be best for support purposes, so perhaps that limits the field some, but perhaps not. In any event, I would be tremendously grateful for your recommendations. I'd like to get this purchase made ASAP so that I can buy them and break them in before I go.

Thank you all, ladies. You'll be hearing plenty about this project over the next little while, as it will slowly take over my life until I leave. This is a physically and emotionally grueling process that I sometimes question if I can face, but as usual fashion is my armour. If I can go into this situation equipped to feel fab in any setting it may throw at me, it will make a real difference. Oh yes, your efforts will not go unrewarded - I can promise a steady stream of puppy pics and training updates for those who may want them once I'm there.