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Ashley and Hawaii

We thank our generous sponsors: 

The class training of Ashley and Hawaii was generously sponsored by Cerberus Capital Management. The team at Cerberus sends Ashley and Hawaii all the very best wishes on their new life together!

Meet Graduate Ashley

Ashley and yellow Lab guide Hawaii sit for team portrait

Graduate Team: Ashley and Hawaii
About the Team: Hawaii, a female yellow Lab, is Ashley’s 1st guide dog
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Training: June 2023 On-Campus

Ashley is in her second year of law school at the University of Wisconsin and has been spending her summer at a law firm in Boston. She graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in anthropology with a minor in law and politics. Ashley is active in the Law Students with Disabilities Coalition, as well as the Moot Court Board at the University of Wisconsin. When not busy studying or working, she loves being out on the water, whether boating, swimming, or tubing. An avid fan of the Boston Red Sox and other local sports teams, Ashley loves attending games at Fenway Park. She enjoys exploring the city and trying new restaurants and breweries. While interning in Boston, Ashley can spend time with her family and sisters, home from college, in nearby New Hampshire. Back in Wisconsin, Ashley has grandparents, aunts, and uncles, so she and Hawaii will have the support of family wherever they set out on their new adventures as a team.  

How would you describe your guide dog? “She’s sociable, cuddly, loves people and playing with other dogs. In harness, she’s so smart. I’m always so impressed by her winding through Boston and pedestrian traffic. We never bump into humans, scaffolding, food trucks – things she needs to navigate, but I can’t see or appreciate. She’s so fun out of harness and she’s so good at working in harness. At home, she likes to run around and play with her squeaky pig toy, but then at work, she settles well, laying down in her bed and hanging out in my office until we’re ready to leave.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I felt restricted with a cane. I used to be a fast walker but became so much slower from trying to get all the information and feeling around for it. Things like cobblestone in Boston take so much longer to feel around, but with a guide dog, you’re so much faster. Hawaii takes me from one side to the other easily, efficiently, and I’m never worried about my safety. Even walking with friends is much easier because you can walk and talk and not constantly focus on a crack in the sidewalk. In addition is the sociability aspect. People are more likely to ask questions or start up a conversation, so it feels good to re-enter the world in a new way. Plus, it’s good to know that if you need help or are struggling, Guiding Eyes regional trainers will come in and check on you.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “The mobility aspect is super freeing because you’re not stuck to buildings or smacking people’s heels. Even emotionally, it’s helpful. A big piece I wasn’t fully expecting was the companionship. Having a dog means someone else is there, always loves you and is excited to see you. Also, new situations and places, especially when you’re blind, can seem scary or overwhelming, so it’s helpful knowing we’re a team. Even if it’s a luncheon with coworkers, Hawaii has my back and is looking out for doors and chairs. We all got so attached immediately and formed this bond with our dogs, and now we have this friend with us who we rely on for so much. The bond is hard to explain to people who aren’t guide dog users.”

Were there any training highlights? “The first thing I was taken back by was how good everyone on campus is at interacting with blind people. They consistently and automatically did things that I brought home to my family. Our instructors would tap a seat or table to let us hear where it is. They’d do this with corners of walls as well. Even the kitchen staff is so good at being like, ‘your water’s at 12 o’clock’ and about describing things to people. My trainer, Shannon, was the best, and has been so supportive. I can be a nervous nelly, but she would sit and talk with me and help me relax. We would talk it through, and she’d let me know she had faith in me and that I was ready to go out into the world with Hawaii. She was so reassuring and good at working with us all individually.”

Meet Guide Dog Hawaii

DOB:  7/9/2021
Litter ID: 3HH21
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Emblem
Stud: Duke
Littermates: Howard, Hildy, Hazy, Herman, Hugh, Hayley, Halsey, Hal, Harry
Region:  New Hampshire
Regional Puppy Instructor: Lisa Bumbalo
Puppy Raiser:  Cindy Farrington & Family
Facebook: New Hampshire Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Hawaii was our first pup to raise and she keep us busy. Hawaii filled our days with excitement. Hawaii was a pup that loved learning and always ready for the next adventure. One of her favorite outings was greeting the school children at the bus every morning. She will always hold a special place in our hearts. We are so proud of her for everything she has learned and wish her a wonderful life on her new adventure as a guide. ~ Cindy Farrington, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…