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Chris and Coda

Meet November Home Training Graduate Chris

Grad Chris and guide Coda stand in the sandy of shore of Lake MichiganGraduate Team:  Chris and Coda
About the Team:  Coda, a male black Lab, is Chris’s 2nd guide dog
Hometown:  Plainfield, Illinois
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Chrissy Vetrano

Chris was born and raised in Illinois and currently resides in Plainfield, a suburb of Chicago. Before his retirement in 1999, he was employed in the automobile industry as a body shop technician and as an auto-mechanic. Not surprisingly, Chris’s interests include reading about automobiles, both old and new, and attending car shows. His favorite cars were a 1973 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and the 2004 Ford Explore SportTrac Premium, whose rear power window was a unique feature at the time. Chris also loves listening to a wide variety of music, from orchestra and pop to rock and roll.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Coda is my second Guiding Eyes dog. Coda is extremely exuberant, yet very responsive to my needs. He is always eager to work and when not working he loves to lick everyone he encounters.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I had a previous dog from Guiding Eyes, Whitley, who was retired after nine years of being my guide. A few years later when she became very ill, it was the hardest decision of my life to let her go. That said, I’d been without a guide for 3 years, but was blessed with Coda 3 months after her passing.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I get around faster because Coda is young and energetic. I can explore new areas around town and travel out of state feeling secure and safe. I have had a recurring issue with a bad knee, but Coda senses when I need to slow-up.”

Were there any training highlights? “The Home Training I received was terrific and very comfortable for me. My trainer, Chrissy Vetrano, was familiar with my special needs, as she trained me with my previous Guiding Eyes dog. Chrissy conducted our training not only in Plainfield, but also in the city of Chicago and I would like to share one remarkable incident that occurred. During training we were confronted by an aggressive, stray city dog and Chrissy was very protective of us, handling the situation calmly and professionally. She also recognized my personal desire to push forward after the incident, so that Coda and I didn’t miss a beat.”

Meet Guide Dog Coda

Coda is one of the calmest and sweetest pups that I’ve raised. He has this great head tilt when you’re talking to him like he’s really focused on precisely what you’re saying. He’s the kind of pup that needs a person, often choosing to sit beside you rather than hanging out in the yard. I’m SO excited for Chris and Coda and wish them many happy years of teamwork together. Safe travels always!

Gayle A. Papesh, Puppy Raiser of Coda

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