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Apryl and Harmony

Meet Graduate Apryl

Apryl and black lab guide Harmony sit for the team portrait

Graduate Team: Apryl and Harmony
About the Team: Harmony, a female black Lab, is Apryl’s 1st guide dog
Location: Brandon, Manitoba
Training:  January 2023 On-Campus

Apryl works as a medical receptionist and administrative assistant at an orthopedics practice. She completed an online program, earning a diploma for administrative professionals, through Robertson College. She lives with her husband and their three cats, Luna, Daisy, and Piper. Harmony wants so badly to play with them, but despite her best enthusiastic efforts, so far, they’re not having it. Apryl’s a music lover who enjoys concerts, playing piano, and singing – she participated in choir groups back in high school. In her free time, she likes hanging out with friends and having a coffee together, but also loves shopping, then taking time to cuddle her guide, Harmony back home. Apryl recently started making loop blankets, created by knitting with your hands without needles or hooks. She and her husband often travel to visit members of their families that live a few hours away in other areas of their province, and now Harmony can too.

How would you describe your guide dog? “She loves people and definitely loves her off-harness time during our lunch breaks, when others come in and she gets 45 minutes of their attention. She’s very cuddly, and I swear that she thinks she’s a cat since she came home, hoping to sit on my lap in my office chair. She also loves my husband – a bit of a daddy’s girl. She has a big personality, that’s for sure.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I applied to a couple of different schools, though Guiding Eyes was my first choice. I actually have a friend who has a guide dog from Guiding Eyes, so I knew about the school through them, and I did a lot of research. Guiding Eyes is one of the older schools with more experience. I have more residual vision than probably a lot of other students, so the fact that Guiding Eyes was more open to that than other schools, was definitely a deciding factor.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “She’s impacted my life in more ways than just my vision. In terms of my vision, we’re still learning because we have a lot of snow on the ground but she’s helpful to have in those situations where everything’s white. She’s that extra support. It’s especially helpful at night when it’s dark, or I’m navigating through a store. I can kind of zoom through without running into something. In terms of having her around, that companionship is a big life-changer as well and significantly improves your mental health. It’s like having a little buddy, and I talk to her as if she’d reply back.”

Were there any training highlights? “Just how homey it was. When I left home, I was like, ‘Ugh, two weeks from my life. That seems like a lot.’  I thought I would be wanting to get home, but I didn’t want to leave. Everybody was so nice, and our class got along so well. We were all friends and constantly hanging out together, so I didn’t really have time to think about it.”

Meet Guide Dog Harmony

DOB:  1/24/2020
Litter ID: 3H20
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Female
Brood: Edna
Stud: Charlie
Littermates: Hattie, Happy, Harrison, Hilton, Harbor, Houston, Harold, Hopi
Region:  New Hampshire, Columbus
Regional Puppy Instructor: Lisa Bumbalo, Leslie Stephens
Puppy Raiser:  Allie Maimone & Family, Karen & Larry Best
Facebook: New Hampshire Puppy Raisers
Facebook: Columbus OH Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Harmony was off to a great start in New Hampshire with Allie. At 7 months of age, Harmony arrived in Columbus, Ohio to finish her “college prep” work. She was a joy to raise, always close to her person and eager to please. Harmony loves to sleep – this way she is always ready for the next adventure! We wish Apryl and Harmony the best as they begin their journey together in perfect Harmony. 🎼 “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” (Roger Caras) ~Karen Best, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…