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Addison and Dory

Meet Home Training Graduate Addison

Addison and Dory show how they are to be together with their big smilesGraduate Team:  Addison and Dory
About the Team:  Dory, a female German Shepherd, is Addie’s 1st guide dog
Hometown:  Louisville, Kentucky
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Melinda Angstrom

Addie is entering her sophomore year at Asbury University as an English major with an interest in ESL. Although still undecided as to her future career plans, her goal is that it will relate to “words, reading and writing”. Addie loves to run and was drawn to the Running Guides Program. She was a dancer in high school before a significant loss of her sight, and she has transferred that grace and balance to her favorite activity, participation on the university’s tumbling team. Addie claims with the enthusiastic humor of youth, to be the best choice to be hoisted up high on the shoulders of others, having no fear of heights because she can’t see the ground. She has also enjoyed “bleacher diving” with her teammates, jumping into a mat below. Addie is V.P. of Asbury’s Disability Alliance, and she started a Goalball program on campus. So far only blindfolded, sighted students are playing this game based on sound and invented for the blind, but she is more than happy to referee and show them how it’s done.

How would you describe your guide dog? “So much fun and so much energy. Dory is fun-loving yet driven and very happy. She loves to work and likes to play and everyone on campus loves her. She loves it when she is allowed to greet people. When Jolene, , came down to work with us, Dory remembered her and was ecstatic to see her.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I gradually lost my sight in high school and what drew me to Guiding Eyes was the Running Guides Program. I am an athlete and love to run, but when I got to college during Covid, I had trouble finding human guides.  I had been considering a guide dog and came across a video of a running guide dog and thought I want that school! I did more research to be sure Guiding Eyes was a good fit.  The breed of dogs was a big factor, the training programs, and how it offered Home Training, narrowed it down for me.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Everything in my daily routine has changed. I’m 19 and never had to take care of anything other than myself, so first I had to make sure I could function as an adult on my own in college. It was a huge period of growth for me. Since getting Dory, I have so many more social skills because people are attracted to a dog and my confidence level has skyrocketed. On campus I walk with a purpose even more now. I used to worry about running into things, but now I know my dog’s got me. One day she led me off the walk and into the grass and I had no idea there was a huge pile of dirt from construction in our path.”

Were there any training highlights? “In the first week we took an easy walk on a trail, and it was full of dog distractions and people obstacles, but she did great. Further down the trail, a deer was grazing nearby. We stopped and Dory obviously wanted to say ‘Hi’, but sat very still watching it, even when it crossed in front of us.  When we continued, the deer started following us and Dory would glance at it, but kept listening to my commands. It was so cool. I don’t think this is something they worked on in training on campus – deer distraction!”

Meet Guide Dog Dory

Dory is the best dog I’ve ever raised. Dory has a lot of drive. She’s excited to do new things, always looking for the next big challenge. She’s athletic and smart and will be great for someone on the go. She’s got good energy and endurance but will settle down well in the house. She LOVES to play fetch, all day long if you let her. She loved going to the beach for jogs and splashing in the water.  She is FAST! Dory loved hanging out with our boys (ages 9 and 11) and would follow them around the backyard. She also loved to play in the hose and the boys would shower her off on hot days. She’s a great family dog and would love going out on daily rounds, weekend trips, or big adventures. She’ll always be there for you. She was a total dream to raise and I hope she brings you the joy and freedom you’re looking for.

Brian Payne, Puppy Raiser of Dory

Enjoy these photos of the team and Dory as a pup on program…