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Anthony and Imari

We thank our generous sponsors:

Tony and Imari’s class training was sponsored by the Somers Car Show honoring the veterans. The DeMarco family has coordinated this event for the past seven years, in memory of Louis DeMarco, their beloved family member who was a Korean War vet. The family shares “In hopes to keep his memory alive and give back to the community, we host a non profit show and donate 100% of the proceeds to Guiding Eyes for the Blind. It brings us so much joy to know that we can support our veterans each and every year. Congratulations Tony and Imari!” 


Meet Graduate Anthony

Tony and black Lab guide Imari sit for their graduate portraitGraduate Team: Anthony and Imari
About the Team: Imari, a female black Lab, is Tony’s 1st guide dog
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Training: June 2023 On-Campus

Tony had been a practicing gastroenterologist for 31 years in Tennessee’s Veterans Hospital, when he lost his eyesight in 2018 to Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. As he could only see shadows, his visual limitations would significantly impact his ability to practice medicine, so he pursued a fellowship in geriatrics. Tony will continue to contribute his knowledge and skills to the medical community by teaching first and second year medical students. He will be volunteering his time at the University of Louisville, where he attended medical school. Tony was born and raised in Louisville and has two adult children. Although he had dogs as pets in the past, Imari is his first guide dog.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Imari is relatively petite, weighing 54 lbs. She was the smallest guide dog among the teams who trained alongside me. However, she seemed to possess the highest energy level among the group’s guide dogs. She loves people, and really enjoys socialization.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “Guiding Eyes was highly recommended by several people, including an acquaintance back in Tennessee. It was definitely the right decision.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Imari is lots of fun to be around. When I sit down, she is right by my side to keep me company, placing her head on my legs and lap. Although she is still learning my travel routes, it is apparent that she is already immensely beneficial to me.”

Were there any training highlights? “We visited a variety of sites during training. One place in particular was the town of Cold Spring. It’s located across the Hudson River from the West Point Military Academy and was very memorable because of its steep hills and the best chocolate chip cookies that I have ever tasted, experienced at a local coffee shop. Dan, my primary trainer, did a great job. Although I had previously gone through blind rehabilitation training through the VA Hospital several years ago, that clientele had varying degrees of vision loss. My training class at Guiding Eyes consisted of individuals like me, with almost no visual acuity, so each individual’s experience was helpful to me. The facility’s physical setting enabled me to learn my way around very quickly, adding to my comfort. The entire staff were very helpful, and the food and kitchen staff were super incredible.”

Meet Guide Dog Imari

DOB:  4/9/2021
Litter ID: 7I21
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Via
Stud: Arnie
Littermates: Ida, Ivan, Ilaria, Iroquois, Italy
Region:  Catoctin
Regional Puppy Instructor: Jeanyne Gembarski
Puppy Raiser:  Nancy & Keith Waites
Facebook: Catoctin Puppy Raisers

Photos of the Team…