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Candice and Charlotte

Meet Graduate Candice

Candice sits next to back Lab guide Charlotte for their graduate team photoGraduate Team:   Candice and Charlotte
About the Team:   Charlotte, a female black Lab, is Candice’s first guide dog
Location:   Seneca Falls, New York
Training:  November 2023 On-Campus

Candice obtained a degree from Finger Lakes Community College and is employed at the Finger Lakes Textile Mill, which makes winter military hats as well as other products. Candice is grateful for this opportunity, made possible through the New York State Commission for the Blind, which facilitates employment and job training for legally blind individuals. As part of this program, she had also worked in a nursing home, an animal shelter, and a school for adults with developmental disabilities. Candice has lived most of her life in western New York and now enjoys living more independently in an apartment of her own with her guide dog, Charlotte. Candice is surrounded by supportive family, as her parents and brother with his wife, also live in the area.  

How would you describe your guide dog? “Charlotte is amazing, playful, and enjoys playing with my parents’ dog.  Charlotte nudges her face under my arm to get my attention or just to say, ‘I’m here for you’.  Charlotte loves people and enjoys walking into town with me and my father who sometimes joins us for the 30-minute walk.  In harness, Charlotte is really good using her ‘to the curb’ and target training and backing me up off the road if she sees a car coming.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I had thought about and planned for years getting a guide dog. I waited until my planned move to my own apartment before going to Guiding Eyes. I had heard good things about Guiding Eyes, watched YouTube videos with Guiding Eyes dogs, and based on my home interview, knew it was right for me.”

How has a guide dog impacted your life? “Having Charlotte was a confidence booster, and crossing streets is not scary now with her.  The companionship has been really nice, too.  I have something to take care of and focus on. I wasn’t a morning person but keeping her on schedule helps to keep me on a schedule, always getting up at the same time as we do on a workday. Charlotte understands alarms in the morning, and I have one set on my phone for the end of the workday. When she hears that, she gets up and is ready to go home.”

Were there any training highlights?  “We went to White Plains for daily training on the sidewalks, and in the mall where we went on escalators. We went into an English candy store and my instructor, Kat, took us to Walmart. We went to a restaurant and got to practice putting our dogs under the table. Charlotte just lay there quietly. I opted not to go into New York City, because I don’t live in a big city. I chose to focus on the skills I’d need back in my hometown.” 

Meet Guide Dog Charlotte

DOB:  10/6/2021
Litter ID: 5C321
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Bonnie
Stud: Opa
Littermates: Captain, Chloe, Crystal, Champ, Cadbury, Cersei
Region:  Montgomery
Regional Puppy Instructor: Jeanyne Gembarski
Puppy Raiser:  Ann McDermott
Facebook: Montgomery Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Charlotte is a fun-loving black Labrador who is super sweet and a real go-getter who is always ready to help. It was such fun raising her from her wee puppy days until she was 17 months old. Some of her favorite things were playing with other GEB dogs and our family dog, Ranger, and exploring local trails. She spent weekdays by my side as I worked and liked to celebrate quitting time with a good walk around the neighborhood. I’m so proud that she learned so well from the professional trainers at Guiding Eyes. It seems everyone who meets Charlotte loves her and I hope she and her match have many excellent years of adventures ahead and they enjoy every day together. ~ Ann McDermott, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…