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Angie and Douglas

Meet Graduate Angie

Angie smiles as she sits shoulder to shoulder with black Lab guide Douglas  for the team portraitGraduate Team:  Angie and Douglas
About the Team:  Douglas, a male black Lab, is Angie’s 1st guide dog
Location:  Richmond, Virginia
Training: May 2023 On-Campus

Angie is a college student pursuing her bachelor’s degree. She is majoring in pre-law and philosophy with a minor in Spanish. Her academic pursuits are likely to continue after graduating, as Angie has set her sights on attending law school.  Angie has a love of music and enjoys playing the violin. This multi-talented musician also sings and dances. Since teaming up with Douglas, Angie is not only experiencing being a first time guide dog handler, but this is her first time having a dog, as well. She enjoys their partnership and finds it very rewarding in so many ways.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Douglas is very stoic and reserved when he is working. He takes his job seriously and is a true professional. He is polite and knows he is mine and I am his.  Douglas and I both like to walk quickly so we are very compatible, however, he is learning that when we are walking with someone else, we need to slow down and accommodate a more leisurely pace. Out of harness, he likes to lift his front right paw when he finds a good smell; he looks like a flamingo! I live with my mom, two sisters and two female cats -Douglas has quickly become the man of the house. After just a few days at home, Douglas showed he is a fast learner, especially about not eating the cats’ food!”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “My vision deteriorated during my senior year of high school and eyeglasses could no longer correct or improve it. I knew a guide dog would help me navigate the complexity of my college campus, and hoped one might assist socially too, serving as an icebreaker when meeting new people. I researched a few different guide dog schools and my mobility instructor highly recommended Guiding Eyes. I watched all the Guiding Eyes graduation videos on YouTube and appreciated the approach Guiding Eyes uses to train both members of a guide dog team.  The videos also gave me a sense of the care and compassion Guiding Eyes puts into carrying out the organization’s mission.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I can be rather shy and self-conscious regarding my disability. Besides guiding me, Douglas is a focal point as I meet new people.  The attention is on him and not me. People are very willing to talk with me about Douglas, whereas if I am using my cane, they are more likely to avoid me.  Douglas is the first dog I have ever had!  He requires work and attention from me, but I find it very rewarding.  He is my eyes and loves me unconditionally. Together we have a partnership where we learn from each other and make each other better. I could never say that about my cane!”

Were there any training highlights? “The timing of my training at Guiding Eyes came just as the semester ended, completing my second year of college, and as I celebrated my 21st birthday! A big highlight for me was our trip into Manhattan.  I like big cities and I hope to live in a city in the future. Douglas took it all in stride and with great focus. He was so relaxed on the subway he fell asleep! Douglas’ puppy raisers attended our graduation, and it was fantastic to meet them. Every day I am grateful for their efforts in making him the guide dog that he is.”

Meet Guide Dog Douglas

DOB:  1/13/2021
Litter ID: 7D21
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Male
Brood: Lizzie
Stud: Odin
Littermates: Kemp, Dalton, Diego, Kozy, Dan, Dot, Donna, Denny
Region:  Central NY
Regional Puppy Instructor: MeKalea Chambliss
Puppy Raiser:  Eileen & Terry Matro
Facebook: Central NY Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Douglas is a happy boy in all circumstances.  He was eager to be on the go, but he was always a cuddle bug as well. We considered him a perfect all around puppy. ~ Eileen and Terry Matro, Puppy Raisers

Photos of the Team…