Graduate Team – Casey and Kanga

 In Graduations, News & Events

Thank you to our generous April Graduate Sponsor…

In memory of my wife, Barbara Woods, who loved dogs and Guiding Eyes. Through our entire marriage, we have had dogs, usually two at a time, and enjoyed them! Sponsoring the graduating class is a perfect way to honor her memory.

– Richard Woods

Meet April Residential Training Graduate Casey

Graduate Casey and black Lab guide KangaGraduate Team: Casey and  Kanga
About the Team: Kanga, a female black Lab, is Casey’s 1st guide dog
Hometown:  Murray, Utah
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Judith DeMaria

Casey is a college student at Weber State University studying computer science with a major in Network Management Technology. He is looking forward to graduating soon with his associate degree. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a career in managing computer networks, as well as website design, supporting website accessibility for all users. Casey enjoys being active, whether at the gym, or hiking and fishing in the great outdoors.  In his free time, he also enjoys traveling and cooking. He lives at home with his twin brother, older sister, and parents, and works at the Utah School for the Blind as a residential mentor. In this role, Casey works to help bridge the gap between high school and college, work, or trade school.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Kanga is very smart and very intuitive, and she can be pretty sassy too! Sometimes when she knows we’re going home or to a fun place, she’ll look at me like, oh yeah! I’m ready to go, and then walk faster. She’s so excited to get there. She can be goofy, but really smart. She uses her paws to do a lot of things. If I have the crate door closed but not locked, she’ll stick her paws in the door and open it! She does a lot of things I’ve never seen a dog do. Like when I play fetch, she tosses the ball back at me or plops it in my hand so I can throw it again.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I have a lot of friends who are guide dog users and the majority of them were graduates from Guiding Eyes. I liked the way they did things with their dogs and how they were taught. Since my friends gave me a lot of feedback, in addition to my own research, Guiding Eyes was the one that stood out to me. I love their philosophy in training dogs, and I think that they’re very different in the things they do. They can train a dog to cater to a client’s specific needs – like in the running guide program. Kanga is a runner. Once we’re more settled, I’m hoping we can run together.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I’m able to get to all of my destinations quickly whether it’s running errands or going to class. So far, I’ve never been late to class or a meeting because Kanga and I are like, go, go, go, all the time. The companionship is great, of course, but she offers that to me all the time – whether she’s working or at home. The fluidity of travel is incredible because I’m able to walk smoothly and I don’t need to worry about every crack in the sidewalk or where the doors are. I know I can rely on her to do those things and it takes some stress off me when I’m travelling, especially to new places.”

Were there any training highlights? “I don’t have any vision at night, so I knew the way I followed Kanga during the day was going to change so much at night. I would need to rely on her totally at night. The first time we did night travel Kanga loved it. She thrives at night. She loves working more at night than during the day. Another highlight is we went to the movies during training and saw “The Batman” movie. It was just me, Kanga, and Judith and we had the theater to ourselves. The theater was so nice, and I had always wondered what it would be like to take my guide to the movies with me. It was very helpful to know how to do it and where to find a spot for her. The thing that really surprised me about training was how relaxed it was. Sometimes we had lectures while we ate meals or just had a conversation in the car. Guiding Eyes is the best guide dog school hands-down. I know that I’m going to go to Guiding Eyes for my next dog and it’s going to be a whole new adventure.”

Meet Guide Dog Kanga

  • DOB:  12/26/2019
  • Tattoo ID:  6K419
  • Color/Breed: Black/Labrador
  • Gender: Female
  • Brood: Poem
  • Stud: Oreo
  • Littermates: Kibby, Karma, Kipley, Kappa, Keating, Kylie, Kringle
  • Region: Bay
  • Regional Manager: Cindy Tait
  • Puppy Raiser:  Gena Reed
  • Facebook:  Guiding Eyes Bay Puppy Raisers
black Lab guide Kanga

From the minute Kanga joined us in February 2020, I knew we were in for a good time. Her preference for pouncing on things as she picked them up and that little impish look in her eye clearly announced her intentions. Super fun and super smart! We enjoyed many adventures together. Kanga is an excellent hiker and loves anything to do with water, retrieving, meeting people and of course treats. Kanga quickly developed her ball playing skills and will play fetch with anyone, at any time, for as long as she can. She is a very accomplished catcher; a line drive tennis ball or a tossed Charlee Bear is no match for her. Kanga loved everyone she met and always greeted them with enthusiastic licks (she never really understood COVID protocols). Kanga was truly a joy to raise and we’re very fortunate to have had her in our lives. I’m confident and happy that Kanga and her new partner Casey will have many great adventures as they live their best lives together.

Gena Reed, Kanga’s Puppy Raiser

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

Meet our other recent guide dog team graduates. Click here!

Friends and Family:  Watch this video to learn more about  Working with a Guide Dog Team.

Graduate Kathy and black Lab guide dog TateGraduate Derrick and yellow Lab guide dog Yasha
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