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Augustu and Jiggs

Thank you to our generous June Graduate Sponsors…

“Congratulations to the June graduating class and guide teams.  Healthy Vision Association is  proud to support Guiding Eyes and all the great work you do.”

Healthy Vision Association Charity Fund

“We celebrate all of the graduates this day. We appreciate all of your perseverance to arrive at this point in your journey with Guiding Eyes. We dedicate our shared sponsorship of this particular graduation to the memory of Kate Fanti. She was an enthusiastic Guiding Eyes volunteer who brought the understanding of the important mission of Guiding Eyes to WCDNF. She brought Omar to a club meeting. We miss her and we believe that her giving, friendly manner helped with the preparation of the Guiding Eyes puppies.  She often shared photos and anecdotes about her very special puppies at club meetings.” 

Women’s Club Danbury/New Fairfield

Meet June Residential Training Graduate Augustu

Graduate Augustu and guide dog Jiggs happily pose together during a break from trainingGraduate Team: Augustu and Jiggs
About the Team:  Jiggs, a male black Lab, is Gus’ 1st guide dog
Hometown:  Gainesville, Georgia
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Judith De Maria

Gus is a rising junior at the University of North Georgia. He is majoring in Cyber Security and minoring in Criminal Justice with hopes of pursuing Cyber Law after graduation. Gus currently lives in Gainesville and will soon be moving to Dahlonega for school and living in a dorm. In his free time, he enjoys getting out in nature and can identify birds by sound. Additionally, Gus loves aviation and flight and going for walks with Jiggs, despite the hot and humid Georgia weather. 

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Jiggs is a good worker and loves walking, which he does with a bounce in his step. His tail is always wagging and he really loves to work. He would even prefer to work than play!  His preferred version of play is to ‘love on’ you. His raiser told me he loves laundry baskets. If you give him one, he will fold himself into it and stick only his head out. When he’s not working or lying in laundry baskets, he likes to sit or lay by my feet.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “The decision to get a guide dog was something that progressed over time. I really started thinking of applying for a guide dog when I was at a new university. I live in a rural setting very much like Yorktown Heights. The university was in the middle of downtown Atlanta, and I was tired of using my cane in the city; going to the city became a chore for me. I transferred to the University of North Georgia and debated about getting a guide dog, but I just had a feeling, so I applied to Guiding Eyes.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “With a guide dog I can get places faster and without obstacles. There is a sense of security and a sense of safety when I’m out alone, now that I’m with Jiggs. I never walked in my own neighborhood routinely until I got a guide dog, because I just didn’t feel safe. I feel like my life has more purpose. I want to move out more, I want to be more independent now. The bond between Jiggs and I is still fresh, but there is a sense of companionship with him.”

Were there any training highlights?  “A memorable moment of training was the FDR Park walk. I’m a walker, not a hiker; walking on trails with a cane didn’t feel right. It felt more like a pain and a hindrance than fun. I had to worry about tripping or getting poked in the belly because of the cane hitting rocks. At FDR Park there was a stretch of trail that was all flat gravel and Judith said Jiggs would just bring me around the rocks and find the clearest path. That was what really ‘got it’ for me; on that stretch. Jiggs was guiding, but it was a different sense of enjoyment. He was enjoying walking and his pull was different, almost stronger. He’s not a running guide, but he was walking so fast that we were almost running. It was incredible and freeing.”

Meet Guide Dog Jiggs

Jiggs was a “lazy” puppy and it was crazy to see all the other pups zooming around while Jiggs just wanted to hang out with me. Luckily, he found his inner superhero and decided that guide dog work was the job for him! Jiggs is the sweetest pup. He loves pets and snuggles in all situations. He is just an all around loving, easy going guy. Jiggs is the 8th dog I’ve raised and he is a favorite. He was raised in a small city with our family of four and our cat Roscoe, and they were great friends. I am so thrilled that you were matched with Jiggs. I’m certain you two will make a fantastic team.

Lisa Faust, Puppy Raisers of Jiggs

Enjoy these photos of the team and Jiggs as a pup on program…