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Annee and Max

Meet Graduate Annee

Annee and black Lab guide dog Max sit for their team portrait

Graduate Team: Annee and Max
About the Team: Max, a female black Lab, is Annee’s 2nd Guiding Eyes dog
Location: Walla Walla, Washington
Training: April 2024 On-Campus 

Annee has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Whitman College and a law degree from the University of Washington. She furthered her studies by completing a Master’s in Special Education (Blindness & Visual Impairment/ Orientation and Mobility) from the University of Northern Colorado. Currently, Annee works as a virtual teacher and independent contractor for Tech Vision, LLC, and the Alaska Center for the Blind, which are both non-profit organizations. She and her husband, John, have been married for thirty-two years and have two adult children, Emily and John, and two grandchildren. Annee was born prematurely with limited vision and subsequently lost any remaining sight in childhood. Annee enjoys taking long walks, hiking, swimming, reading, and cooking. She and her husband have traveled extensively, and their love of travel has taken them around the world to places such as Russia, Europe, Egypt, and Ireland. Max, nicknamed Maxee, is Annee’s second guide dog from Guiding Eyes. Her first guide dog, Willis, is retired and remains a part of her family.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Max is very sweet. She is compact and on the smaller size, with a touch of curly hair on her back which is unique. She is more serious than my previous guide dog. She will let me know if she disagrees with my command and proceeds in a way that keeps me safe. I refer to her as my little shadow. She clearly knows the difference between work and play. Max has a turtle speed in urban settings, and a ‘max’ speed, especially when on hiking trails, which works perfectly for me.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “Besides my vision impairment, I’ve been losing hearing over the last ten-plus years. By going to the Guiding Eyes website, I learned that they could accommodate my dual sensory loss. I was also drawn to the small classes they offer. They really turned out to be the right fit for me.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “When I began losing my hearing, I felt I could no longer travel and was trapped on my front porch. I didn’t feel safe and independent. When I received my first guide dog, it restored my confidence and feelings of safety. Having a guide dog by my side gave me the ability to leave my house and feel comfortable with my travel decisions.”

Were there any training highlights?  “I loved that my instructor, Kat, would take us on walks on streets with no sidewalks, which is much like my community, and on hiking trails. Kat, was delightful and kept an open mind about me carrying my cane. I like knowing that it is available if I need it. There is one last thing I need to say. Chef Rob and his staff were outstanding, accommodating the food preferences and tastes of my classmates. Rob was even willing to prepare gluten-free food when requested. By the way, his cinnamon rolls were amazing.”

Meet Guide Dog Max

DOB:  2/27/2022
Litter ID: S-2M22
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Cora
Stud: Gomer
Littermates: Mocha, Matthew
Region:  Eastern MA, Fingerlakes
Regional Puppy Instructor: Lisa Bumbalo, Cassie Houghton
Puppy Raiser:   Ruth Ladd, The Doubet Family
Facebook: Eastern Mass Puppy Raisers
Facebook: Fingerlakes Puppy Raisers

Special Recognition: Max was special named by Riva Johnson in loving memory of her mother and her special dog, Max. 

From the Puppy Raiser…

Max came into our house and immediately stole everyone’s hearts and became a favorite. She never ceased to make someone smile just by being around. She always had this way of sitting so unique to her it always made people laugh and wonder just how that was comfortable. Max was one of the gentlest dogs we’ve ever had and so well behaved you would almost forget she was there. We are so proud of Max and cannot wait to see where life takes her next. ~ Doubet Family

I was just Max’s starter raiser for 6 weeks but she showed a willingness to try anything! Walk on scary metal bleachers? No sweat! Hop in a doggie pool with three big labs? No problem! I knew she had a lot of promise and her graduation is proof of that. Yay, Max!  ~ Ruth Ladd

Photos of the Team…