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Brittany and Todd

Meet October Home Training Graduate Brittany

Brittany and Guide dog Todd pose by a shimmering poolGraduate Team:  Brittany and Todd
About the Team:  Todd, a male yellow Lab, is Brittany’s 1st guide dog
Hometown:  Austin, Texas
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Dan Weesner

Brittany is currently a senior at the University of Texas in Austin. She is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Spanish and will continue her education to attain her master’s degree. After graduate school, Brittany’s goal is to have her own marriage and family counseling practice. Brittany is very adventurous, with a love of hiking and camping, as well as travel. She travels several times a year for both leisure and sports tournaments. She is a member of the San Antonio Jets Beep Baseball team and the Maryland Minks Goalball team, competing in tournaments across the country. It is her goal to visit all 50 states, and there are several foreign countries on Brittany’s bucket list as well. Her other hobbies include playing guitar and singing.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Todd is 2 ½ years old, very energetic and affectionate. He loves his work! When he is out of his harness, he is a goofy, wiggly puppy who loves to chew on his bone.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “Since I was very young, I noticed that guide dogs make independence attainable, and I knew it was something I wanted for myself. I chose Guiding Eyes for many reasons, including the excellent alumni support and the use of my two favorite dog breeds, German Shepherds and Labs. Although I ultimately participated in the Home Training Program, I appreciated that the Residential Training Program is near a major metropolitan area, because I knew my training required a complex city environment. A friend on my goalball team has a guide from Guiding Eyes and they are the most successful guide dog team I have observed. Ultimately, I think that fact had the greatest impact on my decision. I am very happy with my choice. Everyone I have interacted with at Guiding Eyes has been very positive and supportive.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “I no longer fear traveling! With a cane, I traveled or walked somewhere only because I needed to, and it was more stressful than I even realized. Suddenly the stress is gone, and I have a whole new confidence. Now I love to go outside and go for a walk just for fun. A guide dog makes travel quick and efficient. Todd also provides wonderful companionship. I believe we share a mutual reliance on each other, as well as love and loyalty. I literally trust him with my life! The bond between the members of a guide dog team is very special. Todd makes the choice every day to work and guide me, and for that I am very grateful!”

Were there any training highlights?  “I live in a very dog friendly community and therefore Todd sees many other dogs.  A highlight was when Todd successfully worked right through a “dog distraction”. Dan is an amazing trainer and was very approachable. He was encouraging as I worked through mistakes, and he helped me problem solve. Traffic training was also a highlight. I have always been very anxious when it comes to traffic and intersections, and I was amazed at how gracefully Todd approached a traffic light and just calmly slowed down. On a lighter note, there was a funny time at Target when I misjudged the placement of the shopping cart and dropped the item onto the floor instead of into the cart.  Dan and I had a good laugh and Todd just looked at me wondering what I was doing!”

Meet Guide Dog Todd

Todd has always been a sweet happy boy. He’s loved working ever since he was a baby and greeted every outing with enthusiasm. I’m very proud of him.  He is exactly where he should be and his match could not be more perfect.  

Megan St. Jean, Puppy Raiser of Todd

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