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Abby and Igloo

Special Recognition: Abby and Igloo’s training was sponsored by the John and Susan Hammel Family Foundation.

Meet Graduate Abby

Abby and yellow Lab guide dog Igloo sit for their graduate portraitGraduate Team:  Abby and Igloo
About the Team:  Igloo, a female yellow Lab, is Abby’s 2nd guide dog from Guiding Eyes
Hometown:  Dayton, Ohio
Training: November 2022 On-Campus 

Abby is a social worker, supporting patients and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. She earned her undergraduate degree from Wright State University in Ohio, and then went on to earn a master’s degree in Social Work from Boston College in 2020.  In addition to making a difference in the lives of others through her profession, Abby enjoys travel and spending time with friends. 

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Igloo has a lot of enthusiasm and personality!  She thinks everything is an adventure. She is an excellent worker and very focused when she is in her harness.  Igloo and I are out in the community regularly. I often meet with clients at the library or the quiet corner of a coffee shop. These opportunities are ideal for Igloo to work on her ‘people distraction’ skills and her best social manners. When she’s not working, she loves attention and to play. Tennis balls, or something she can play tug with, are her toys of choice.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “When I was in high school, Guiding Eyes came and did a presentation about guide dogs and the organization.  At the time I was a cane user.  During their visit, I was able to sample walking with a guide dog.  I immediately felt normal, free, and confident again!  I almost felt like I had vision. I applied for a guide dog and got Kathy.  She was an excellent guide and worked with me for more than 7 years. Guiding Eyes provided me with such a quality guide, as well as excellent training and support.  I knew I would return to Guiding Eyes for my next guide dog, and now I have Igloo!”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I can be spontaneous! With my guide dog, I am comfortable going unfamiliar places. A cane requires my total concentration, whereas Igloo eliminates the everyday stress of navigating my surroundings.  These factors combined have had an immeasurable impact on me socially.”

Were there any training highlights?  “I loved my training experience at the Guiding Eyes campus.  I have a lot in common with several of my classmates and really enjoyed socializing with them. I appreciate the flexibility Guiding Eyes offered, working with each student to customize the training to their needs. One highlight was the trip into New York City.  Igloo was amazing and completely at ease in a very challenging environment. She was not phased at all by the level of activity and stimuli. On that trip I realized she has an everyday pace and a ‘turbo’ mode.  Igloo and I can get around very quickly when needed!”

Meet Guide Dog Igloo

DOB:  5/4/2020
Litter ID: 3II20
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Female
Brood: Minka
Stud: Flanders
Littermates: Iris, Indigo, Irma, Imari, Irene, Irwin, Irie
Region:  Capital NY
Regional Puppy Instructor: Kate Gardner
Puppy Raiser:  Mary Going, The Bushway Family
Facebook: Capital Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Igloo loved to work, even if I made her wear funny hats on visits to my kids in college. I never saw her be afraid of anything- she just wanted to go. And we loved that her name made sense- she was very light yellow, and everyone assumed she had been named Igloo because of her color. Unlike a previous pup named Oats, who was a black lab. Burnt oats? I asked my kids what they thought made igloo distinctive and they said she was super sweet. A really nice temperament – happy, eager to please. Her favorite thing was swimming. It was fun to have a lab who loved water! ~ Shawn Bushway, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…