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Amanda & Taz

Thank you to our generous November Graduate Teams Sponsor…

In Memory of Donna Brill, a life long dog lover, who especially adored all the Labrador Retrievers in her life.  Donna and her husband Jim spent many years breeding and training happy and loving Labradors. We know Mom would be so proud of all the devotion and loving care these guide dogs will provide.  Thanks to the work at Guiding Eyes, these dogs will be faithful companions like Donna’s faithful dog of 16 years, Allie, who was with her through her final days.

Donna’s daughters, Angela Brill, Laurie Lamp and Kathy Dahm

Meet Home Training Graduate Amanda

Graduate Amanda sits with Taz on the front step amongst the pumpkins.Graduate Team:  Amanda and Taz
About the Team:  Taz, a male yellow Lab, is Amanda’s 1st guide dog
Hometown:  Rutland, Vermont
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Amy DiPalo

Amanda comes to Guiding Eyes for her first guide dog, Taz. He happily joins Amanda, her husband, three young children and Molly, a 6 month old Golden Retriever. Caring for her family is Amanda’s focus in life and she describes Taz as “part of the pack”.  The family loves anything outdoors, whether playtime, easy hikes or long walks. Taz learned early on about Friday movie nights and Saturday game nights, and gladly participates by lying beside, or on top of, anyone willing to have him. His bedtime routine includes a quick visit to each child’s bedside to say goodnight, before retiring to his crate at the end of the day. As Amanda puts it, “He completes us.”

How would you describe your guide dog? “He’s caring and affectionate and loves attention. Our pet, Molly, brings out the puppy in him when they play tug of war. He likes to be in the middle of everything and has bonded with the whole family. He watches over all ‘his people’, always making sure everyone is ok. He’s our best friend and a motivator.  All I have to say is ‘Let’s go to work.’ and he’s eager to get out the door in his harness and work.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I knew in my heart it was time. I needed to feel more confident. I wanted our kids to feel free to be more active, without stopping to help me. It was time to acknowledge that we could be doing more as a family.” 

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I love that I’m walking so much faster. It has liberated us. Our family has been able to get out of our box and enjoy our more adventurous side. He’s brought balance into our lives; it’s almost like chaos in a calming manner.  There’s more activity because we’re doing more, but at the same time we’re enjoying it, rather than stressing about it. Taz allows us to be a family together; he completes us.”

Were there any training highlights? “During training we were working on crosswalks and intersections. The first time he was asked to target the button on the traffic signal pole, he went right to it; and every time after that. He’s so intuitive and smart. He’s amazing. I’m just so incredibly grateful to have him.”

Meet Guide Dog Taz

Within a few days of Taz arriving in my home, I realized that this pup had “it”. He was destined to be a wonderful guide.  He quickly picked up new skills and had outstanding house manners from day one.  Taz loved meeting new people and dogs and would adjust his level of interaction to whoever he was meeting.  He was very gentle with small children and young pups.  Taz was always cognizant of where I was and enjoyed lying on his bed while I spent time on the computer, reading, or watching TV.   He looked forward to our daily routine of checking the mail, walking the neighborhood, or an outing to the store or mall. Bringing him in for training was a difficult day for me and brought tears to my eyes as I left the kennels.  But unfazed, he was ready to move on with the next phase of his career.  Taz will always have a very special place in my heart. I am so proud of him.

Marilyn Kellogg, Puppy Raiser of Taz

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

Meet our other recent guide dog team graduates. Click here!

Friends and Family:  Watch this video to learn more about  Working with a Guide Dog Team.