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Carmen and Tommy

Meet Graduate Carmen

Graduate Carmen and black Lab guide dog TommyJuly Home Training
Graduate Team:  Carmen and Tommy
About the Team:  Tommy, a male black Lab, is Carmen’s 3rd Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Michael Goehring 

Carmen is married and has a grown daughter and son in their twenties. She earned diplomas in X-ray Technology and Ultrasound Technology, before losing her eyesight when her children were very young. During the years of raising children and simultaneously coping with blindness, Carmen’s Mom was a constant source of support as her husband became the sole provider. She was not only a great help with Carmen’s kids, but also very supportive of getting her first guide dog, Leah. They were familiar with Labradors, as her parents used to breed Labs at one time. Her three Guiding Eyes dogs, Leah, Pasco, and Tommy, have all been Labs. Carmen walked her children to school guided by Leah. The family has a summer cottage, which has been a source of great memories and enjoyment over the last 54 years. Tommy has quickly learned to guide Carmen to the gazebo, where she enjoys spending time.  

How would you describe your guide dog? “Tommy has a work hard, play hard, attitude. If I throw the ball for him, he is ready to play but when I pick up the harness, he is ready to work. He can be very sweet and cuddly but is confident and serious when out in the neighborhood. All of my dogs have added a lot to the whole family, and they always fit in so easily. Guiding Eyes dogs are smart, well trained and you feel like you can rely on them so quickly. I feel like family and friends are not worried about me now that they know I have Tommy with me.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “One of my early orientation and mobility trainers at Canadian National Institute for the Blind said I’d be a good candidate for a guide dog because of my great orientation. She suggested Guiding Eyes for the Blind because of their reputation for good follow-up and support on the phone or in person, and the dogs have such good training. I was also thankful for the home training program, as when I first applied my son was only 4 years old. I also had many health issues on top of my blindness, and I felt more comfortable staying home and Guiding Eyes made that possible.”

How has a guide dog impacted your life? “Tommy is my third guide dog from Guiding Eyes. These dogs have made my life happier and more fulfilled.  I have a dog to look after, and he gives back to me by giving me independence. It’s a very positive thing, for sure.  It has turned something not so good, like losing your sight, into something good, like having a guide dog. And you have this friend with you for years that is trained so well. He gives me increased freedom. It’s good for my physical health with the walking, and mental health for keeping me busy and the companionship is great for me.”  

Were there any training highlights?  “During my most recent training, we went to a pet store which I had never done before during training. This was a good experience as there were many distractions such as food, toys, other dogs, and people going in and out. The first time we went wasn’t perfect, but Tommy impressed me by doing just fine the second time. With each of my dogs from Guiding Eyes some of the training methods have changed. For example, Tommy is the first dog I’ve use the Touch command with. This has been very helpful and it’s nice to know they keep finding ways for us to work better as a team.”

Meet Guide Dog Tommy 

DOB: 6/14/2019
Tattoo ID:  6TT19
Color/Breed: Black/Labrador
Gender: Male
Brood: Cheryl
Stud: Octane
Littermates: Topaz, Tywin, Triscuit, Tonka, Tang, Trinity, Theodore, Tabitha, Theon, Trudy
Region:  Cleveland West
Regional Manager: Leslie Stephens
Puppy Raiser:  Daniella Del Busso
Facebook: Ohio Puppy Raisers

Special Recognition: Tommy was special named by Dr. And Mrs. Thomas Stilp

Tommy was a sweet and gentle pup from the beginning. He was always ready to go places, but just as happy to be at home spending time with his humans. He was a very obedient dog and mastered his commands very quickly, often times wanting to show off how smart he was. It was a pleasure raising Tommy and he was such a wonderful addition to our family. We wish Tommy and Carmen many wonderful years together filled with fun and adventure.

Daniella Del Busso, Puppy Raiser

Enjoy photos of the team…