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May 2015 Graduating Class

Thank you to the sponsors of this month’s class:

Residential Graduates:
Katelin and Edward
Mark and Marie
Chris and Keith
Honey and Baltic
Jesus and Nike
Joanne and Selby
Joseph and Gadget
Kristi and Nitro
Mickael and Schyler
Nicole and Jovan
Tiago and Sol
Home Training
Christopher and Darien

Many thanks to our instructors:
Miranda Beckmann, Class Supervisor
Woody Curry, Class Instructor
Michael Ceglio, Class Instructor
Cara Ebeling, Class Instructor
Graham Buck, International Instructor
Jessy DiNapoli, ACTION Instructor
Megan Crowley, Home Training Instructor
Morgan Vail, Instructor Assistant

Katelin and Edward
Pennsylvania resident Katelin returns to Guiding Eyes for her second guide dog, a male yellow Labrador named Edward.

Katelin was born totally blind and the cause of her vision loss is unknown. As she got older, she began to see shadows and colors and now borders as legally blind. Katelin is currently in the third year of her clinical doctorate of audiology at Salus University. Between her studies, she finds time to pursue her hobbies, including reading, exercising and practicing American Sign Language. She shares, “My retired guide is a German Shepherd who lives with my parents. Edward is very different than him, but a perfect match for me.”

Congratulations to Edward’s puppy raisers – Vanessa Scinta and the Fox Family!

Jesus and Nike
Jesus traveled from Texas for his first guide dog a male yellow Labrador named Nike.

A graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor’s degree in sports science, he decided to open his own shop on Amazon selling sports supplements. His goal is to open a retail store in Latin America in 2016. Jesus also freelances as a web developer. One of his hobbies is competing in competitive natural body-building and he took fifth place at the Ronnie Coleman Classic in 2012. Jesus is very excited to be part of the May 2015 class at Guiding Eyes, and he is amazed at how easy it is to work with Nike. His new definition of independence is folding up his cane and trusting Nike will get them where they need to go safely.

Congratulations to Nike’s puppy raiser – The Martin Family!

Kristi and Nitro
Kristi will head home to Oklahoma with male black Labrador Nitro.

Due to her mother’s German measles, Kristi was born with cataracts and later developed glaucoma. Kristi works at a manufacturing company that makes various products, including pumps that are supplied to underdeveloped countries needing fresh water. A massage therapist, Kristi keeps her skills honed treating friends and family members. Amongst her hobbies are bowling, swimming, long walks and riding her horse, Thunder. Nitro is very responsive, energetic, loves to work and especially enjoys playing tug of war.

Congratulations to Nitro’s puppy raiser – The Randall Family!

Chris and Keith
Chris came to Guiding Eyes for her first dog in 2007, and now returns for her second dog, a yellow Labrador named Keith.
Chris lost her vision due to retinitis pigmentosa. She was employed in fine jewelry for 10 years has many hobbies; she loves to bake, practice yoga, sew and take care of her four-year-old grandson. She just celebrated her wedding anniversary and her husband is now taking care of her retired guide until she and Keith return home.

Using a cane made Chris feel isolated. People would shy away from her and she found it difficult to connect with others. Her introduction to guide dogs came at a conference where she met a Guiding Eyes graduate. She believes fate intervened that day and changed her life for the better.

Congratulations to Keith’s puppy raiser – Gina Slonin!

Joanne and Selby
Joanne has been matched with her first guide dog, a female black Labrador named Selby.

Joanne lives in Canada with her husband of 31 years and they have three grown children together. Her vision loss was very slow and her mobility became an issue over the last few years when her central vision started deteriorating. She describes, “I can use a GPS to get somewhere, but how to find the door? Now, once we arrive at the address, Selby will take me to the door.” Joanne enjoys yoga and bowling in her free time. She is looking forward to getting home to her family farm and back to her volunteer duties.

Congratulations to Selby’s puppy raisers – Eileen & Terry Matro!

Mickael and Schyler
Mickael is from Portugal and was matched with his first guide dog, Schyler, a female black Labrador.

Mickael’s vision loss is caused by Leber’s Syndrome. He is an employee of the blind association in Portugal and has been teaching computer skills to clients for the past 12 years. Touch screens and technology offer many benefits for people who are blind or visually impaired. In his free time, he launched a technology podcast in Portuguese in December 2013 and has 45 episodes to date. He also enjoys music, playing the electric guitar, watching favorite shows and having dinner with his girlfriend. Mickael had pet dogs and appreciates Schyler’s work ethic. He shares, “Schyler makes my walks faster and more secure. I am looking forward to introducing her to my girlfriend and my cat.”

Congratulations to Schyler’s puppy raiser – Ms. Nicole Dorsey!

Joe and Gadget
Joe is excited to return to Pennsylvania and introduce his second guide dog, male black Lab Gadget, to his wife, five children, 13 grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. He says that Gadget is quickly earning his new nickname, “Inspector.”

Joe served in the Army within the artillery unit and was honorably discharged with the rank of PFC 3. He then ran his own vending machine business. Now retired, he enjoys to fish, walk, exercise and to take his kids to the park. He also volunteers whenever possible.

Retinitis pigmentosa is the cause of Joe’s vision loss and began to affect him in his early 40s. He is amazed at the spark and pep in Gadget, who is always very alert and responsive and has a serious work ethic in harness. He feels strongly about his dogs’ abilities to positively impact his life.

Congratulations to Gadget’s puppy raisers – Rick & Gayle Cohen!

Nicole and Jovan
Nicole is excited to be matched with her seventh guide dog, a female yellow Labrador named Jovan.

Nicole lost her vision as a result of retinitis pigmentosa, a diagnosis she shares with her daughter, sister and nephew. An English major at Santa Rosa Junior College, she now works for an educational publication and is responsible for soliciting fundraising and sponsorship support from local and national businesses. She has a passion for exercise, enjoys sharing meals with friends and loves to travel. For the past 21 years, her guide dogs have brought her independence and companionship; she doesn’t have to depend on others or think about the challenges of going places. She is excited to return to California and looks forward to exploring new places with Jovan by her side.

Congratulations to Jovan’s puppy raiser – The Mercer Family!

Honey and Baltic
Honey comes to Guiding Eyes from Maine and has been matched with her first guide dog, a male yellow Labrador named Baltic.

Honey was born with cataracts. They were removed at the age of seven and for many years she was able to see with contact lenses. She is a single mom with twin boys and a daughter. She worked in Hospice for many years and was a Certified Nursing Assistant and Certified Residential Medication Assistant. Living in a rural area with few sidewalks, Honey decided a guide dog would make travel in her neighborhood easier and more enjoyable. Baltic will allow her to get across the grass without incident and she is excited to think about the adventures the future holds.

Congratulations to Baltic’s puppy raisers – Cynthia Marvin and Darleen Farley!

Tiago and Sol
Tiago is an international student from Portugal and has been matched with his first guide dog, a male yellow Labrador named Sol.

Tiago is cancer free today, but treatment and two bone marrow transplants served to weaken his immune system. When a virus attacked his retina, it caused him to become blind. Tiago will graduate from college in June with a degree in accounting and will then continue on for his Master’s degree. He lives with his girlfriend and enjoys going to the gym, traveling, taking walks downtown and having fun with friends. Sol is his first dog and he hopes Sol will find his pet turtle entertaining. “He is smart and a good dog” he shares, “Since I went blind, I wanted a guide dog but waited to be prepared, be an expert cane traveler and when I felt ready, I applied.” With Sol by his side, he is more confident and excited to go to new places and discover new things.

Congratulations to Sol’s puppy raiser – Audry Mattie!

Congratulations to the raisers of the guide dogs placed through May Home Training:
Darien: Raised by Lauren Fleischer, Alexandra Scott, Erin Murphy and Madeline Docimo