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Chantal and Yoda

Meet Graduate Chantal

Chantal sits with a hand on the neck of black lab Yoda as they pose for team portraitGraduate Team:  Chantal and Yoda
About the Team:  Yoda, a male black Lab is Chantal’s first guide dog
Hometown:  Quebec, Canada
Training: February 2023 On-Campus

Chantal is employed by the Canadian government as a senior advisor, providing coaching support at the National Grants and Contributions Delivery Centre that provides funding to non-profit organizations. She provides support throughout the entire contributions management; completing negotiation prior to agreement signature, managing funding by conducting financial and activity monitoring, and helping new program officers manage their case load of contributions. Chantal travels frequently for her job, often on the road visiting contributions recipients. She is well educated, having earned a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees, all from Canadian universities. Chantal’s family includes her husband, their eight-year-old female Bouvier de Flandres and now Yoda! Chantal is looking forward to running a 10K race in Ottawa in May, as well as traveling to Montreal in September with Yoda and some members of her extended family to run a 5K race.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Yoda is a ray of sunshine! He is curious and very sweet.  He makes me laugh a lot.  Yoda gets along great with my pet dog. I’ve been working from home, and they are both at my side all day while I work. I expect to return to the office soon, so of course Yoda will be joining me!”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I heard about the running guides program offered by Guiding Eyes for the Blind.  I really want to be able to run when and where I want to, without relying on the availability of a sighted guide.  I do not always run far, but I do like to run often.  I prefer to run outside and not be limited to the treadmill.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “My life has changed a lot.  I have adjusted my daily routine, to accommodate Yoda’s schedule and care.  In return, Yoda has given me freedom and independence.  I can now go out for a walk, (and soon a run!), whenever I want. I feel more secure, doing normal things like walking to a restaurant to meet a friend.  It is so different walking with Yoda versus a cane.  Yoda is a companion and a buddy, providing me with both safety and comfort.” 

Were there any training highlights? “The entire experience of training at the Guiding Eyes campus was awesome! Everyone was very friendly and dedicated to whatever needs the students had. My trainer was very knowledgeable and knew how to resolve any situation or training issue as it arose.  I describe my experience as being at a 5-star, all-inclusive resort! The attention to detail made me feel so comfortable and cared for while away from home.  A highlight for me was walking at night with Yoda. I typically avoid going out on my own after dark. I was amazed at the pace I could keep as Yoda guided me. It was so cool to feel my confidence return. Getting Yoda has been the experience of a lifetime. In addition to Yoda, I enjoy the relationships I now have with his puppy raiser, as well as my Guiding Eyes classmates.”

Meet Guide Dog Yoda

DOB:  11/19/2020
Litter ID: 9YY20
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Male
Brood: Roz
Stud: Dasher
Littermates: York, Yosemite, Yolanda, Yamaha, Yardley
Region:  Capital, NY
Regional Puppy Instructor: Kate Gardner
Puppy Raiser:  Robert Entrott and Ashley McCarthy, The Zweig/Wrenn Family
Facebook: Capital Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Yoda has always been a ball of energy, and always quick to catch on to new skills. Always by one’s side and ready for a walk or some play time, he was the highlight of many of our days together. I wish nothing but the best for him and his handler and all the adventures they’ll get to share together! ~ Robert Entrott and Ashley McCarthy

We began raising Yoda when he was nine months old. He was like a typical teenager, wanting attention – which we were happy to provide. He was able to adjust to our home’s routine and fit right in. He especially enjoyed walks in the woods, often walking/splashing in the little creek that is by our home. Because we were all working from home, Yoda would sneak under my desk and lay on my feet while I worked – sometimes quietly chewing his toy, sometimes napping, always patiently waiting for “his time.” Yoda’s best attribute is he loves to love you! He likes to be near you, laying so he can touch your foot or leaning against your legs. And, Yoda is the most generous kisser, forever ready with a big smooch! ~ Jessica Zweig and Peter Wrenn

Photos of the Team…