Barbara and Zane

Meet Graduate Barbara

Barbara and ZaneGraduate Team: Barbara and Zane
About the team: Zane, a male yellow Lab, is Barbara’s 2nd Guiding Eyes guide dog (8th overall)
Location: San Marcos, California
Training: September 2023 Home Training

Barbara is retired and lives with her husband Arnold in Southern California, with their pet Dachshund Chatchkie and her guide dog, Zane. Barbara has been a guide dog user since 1972, but received her first Guiding Eyes guide dog, Zeus in 2014. Upon Zeus’ recent retirement to a family friend, another “Z” dog was in her future when she was matched with Zane. In her free time, Barbara enjoys daily travel, taking walks, reading, listening to music, and spending time with her caring and supportive family nearby.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Zane is very affectionate and very sweet. I’ve presented him with a lot of challenges already. My building used to be a hotel and it is a very old building. He learned it immediately. At night, he sleeps in the bed with us. He bonded immediately with Chatchkie. It was unbelievably fast!”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I always knew I was going to have a guide dog since I was just six years old. I had a speech teacher with a boxer guide dog and the dog walked by and gave me a kiss. I knew it from that moment! I had six guide dogs from another school and the last wasn’t a great experience. Going to Guiding Eyes was the best thing I ever did. I went to Guiding Eyes for Zeus and now Zane, because I felt it was the best program for me. I don’t have anything bad to say about them!”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “Having a guide dog has impacted my life in so many ways. I feel like I’m much more independent and I feel safer than with a cane. In this building especially, I don’t think it’d be safe to not have a guide dog. There are a lot of people in wheelchairs and with walkers and Zane has to navigate around them. He’s very good at it. Guide dogs are also tremendous icebreakers. I love to talk to people and people always come up to me when I’m with Zane.”

Were there any training highlights?  “There were so many highlights, but I think one of the best was that the dining room in my building missed my voicemail ordering lunch. It was 1 o’clock and I hadn’t had any lunch, so I asked my instructor Andrea if we could go out. She found a pub called ‘The Belching Beaver’. There were beaver statues everywhere and she took so many awesome pictures! She even took a picture of Zane and I at the ‘service dogs only’ sign. Andrea is just so amazing. I’ve known her for years since I got Zeus. I’m just so amazed with Zane. I love that dog so much. He’s just so sweet. He makes my heart melt! I’m so grateful for his puppy raisers, Liz & Lisa. They obviously did such a good job with him.”

Meet Guide Dog Zane

DOB:  7/3/2019
Litter ID: 4ZZ19
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Oriana
Stud: Zinc
Littermates: Zorro, Zion, Zima, Zachary
Region:  Lower Westchester
Regional Puppy Instructor: Elizabeth Vacchiano
Puppy Raiser:  Liz & Maggie Beller, Lisa Staryak
Facebook: Westchester NY Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Raising Zane was a Beller-Staryak family affair. Zane was featured as a part of the AKC Puppy Pack, where they promoted his journey on their social media channels. Meanwhile, he held down a 9-5 job at Vector Media, where he gave cuddles, rode double-decker buses, snoozed through meetings, and was adored. Our favorite memories with Zane include: family hikes, beach swims, NYRR race cheering, and going out to eat. Zane even played matchmaker; solidifying the puppy love between Lizzie and Adam, who were married just before his IFT! Zane was a pleasure to raise. His sweet teddy bear nature was complimented by his hard work, constant reliability, and the size of his heart. We are thrilled for his next chapter. We love you Zaney!! ~ Lisa, Adam, Lizzie Staryak & Maggie Beller

Photos of the Team…