Acts of Faith

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Amber Blankenship, 5, takes a peek at Wooster, guidedog for Maggee (cq Maggee) Jespersen, second from left, who prayed with others on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009, at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Raleigh.  Jespersen, who has lost most of her eyesight due to retinitis pigmentosa, says of Wooster, "My faith is totally turned over to him, and I lean on him every day.  I feel safe and secure when he's leading me."  Jespersen was sad because her yellow lab, age 9, is about to retire, and she'll have to find a new dog.  "He's just getting tired," she said.  Seeing Wooster age, and dealing with an accelerated loss of her eyesight over the past 6 months, are challenges that Jespersen believes have a purpose.  "Everything is a lesson from God," she said. "These challenges are helping me get to a better place."  Staff photo by Ted Richardson/The News & Observer