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Barbara and Quasar

Meet Graduate Barbara

Graduate Barbara sits on a bench with black Lab guide dog QuasarJuly Home Training
Graduate Team:   Barbara and Quasar
About the Team:  Quasar, a male black Lab, is Barbara’s 3rd Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown: Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Andrea Martine  

Barbara has been a widow for twelve years, but she and her husband were blessed with of 2 daughters, 3 sons, and now 20+ grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. They had been high school sweethearts and married shortly after graduation and before he joined the Army and fought in the Vietnam War. Barbara worked for the State of New Jersey in the Office of Commercial Recording, where she researched business names for new owners to assure that a name had not been previously used. Upon her husband’s return home, they moved several times around the United States with his Army assignments. Barbara was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis over three decades ago and subsequently became blind. Today, Barbara lives near one of her daughters, and in a home with her caregiver grandson.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Quasar is very loving, and I have great trust that he will not let me get hurt.  While training at home with Andrea, Quasar guided me around a hanging tree limb and tables on a sidewalk, and he keeps me safe. While training in a grocery store, we were at the service counter and Quasar moved to a woman sitting nearby who then started to cry.  He came right back when I called, and Andrea went to speak with the woman who was crying.  She said her dog who had just died, looked like Quasar and she missed him so much. Quasar had apparently sensed that woman’s sad feelings and responded.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “After I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I was working, but I began to go blind and was falling. In the hospital, they said I should go to the Joseph Kohn Training Center for the Blind and I stayed there off and on for 2 years. I was afraid to go home, because I didn’t know how I would function, but the person at the desk said, ‘you need a guide dog’ and she helped me with all the papers to send to Guiding Eyes. Soon they called and said that I could come there to get matched to a dog.”

How has a guide dog impacted your life? “Freedom; my dogs gave me freedom. Quasar, like my previous guide dogs, Joanne and Oakie, also from Guiding Eyes, gives me freedom. I didn’t have to be afraid anymore. These dogs work so hard to keep you safe, whether walking in your community, riding on a train, a plane, or a bus. Andrea said, ‘you can trust Quasar as you walk.’  I know he’s not going to let me get hurt.”

Were there any training highlights? “I learned a lot from Andrea. People just watched as we walked around Kennett Square. Some had never seen a guide dog before. We went to the grocery store and Andrea showed me how to shop while pushing a cart and using a hook to attach the leash to my waist. This can be done any time I need to use both of my hands. Andrea showed me how to back Quasar up towards a seat on a bus and in church. When we went to church, he didn’t react at all to the loud noises.  We also went out to eat and to my PT appointment. I wanted to go to places where I thought I might have problems, so I learned a lot of tips from Andrea about handling Quasar.”


Meet Guide Dog Quasar

DOB: 6/6/2019
Litter ID: 6QQ19
Color/Breed: Black Labrador Retriever
Gender: Male
Brood: Haven
Stud: Zinc
Littermates: Quay, Quanto, Quigley, Quinnah
Region: Westchester County/Colorado
Regional Manager: Elizabeth Vacchiano/Kerry Lemerise
Puppy Raiser:  Timothy and Barbara Halecki/Debbie Coyle
Facebook: Westchester Puppy Raisers
Colorado Puppy Raisers


Quasar is a loyal and lovable puppy! He is always excited to go on new adventures or just to stay home and cuddle. He was with me for two years due to COVID and I loved having the extra time with him. He will be an excellent guide and companion. Thank you everyone on the guide dog team in helping Quasar reach his goal to help someone in need.

Debbie Coyle, Puppy Raiser