Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Christina and Acadia

Meet Graduate Christina

Christina and black Lab guide dog Acadia sit in relaxed pose for team portraitGraduate Team: Christina and Acadia
About the Team: Acadia, a female black Lab, is Christina’s 1st guide dog
Location:  NYC, New York
Training: February 2023 On-Campus

Christina resides in New York City with her boyfriend and guide dog Acadia. She recently graduated with her master’s in social work and is preparing to take the LMSW exam in the near future. ChrisIn her free time Christina enjoys staying active by taking karate classes, going for walks, and traveling “anywhere and everywhere”. Christina has family living nearby and enjoys going on cruises with them regularly. She is looking forward to an upcoming trip to Portugal. She has three sisters, and her sister Victoria received a Guiding Eyes guide dog, York, a month after Christina. Christina also enjoys Broadway shows and participating in workshops at her local library.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Acadia has lots of energy and is like a little piggy when excited! She paces around and wiggles her butt and snorts. It’s so cute. She likes to go out, but she is able to chill out too. If we’re out and I’m standing there for a long time, she’ll just lie down wherever she is. She’s the most food motivated dog I’ve ever met, but she’s very polite and so well behaved! I get so many compliments on how beautiful she is, floppy ears and the strongest tail! She likes to play tug of war – that’s her favorite thing.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I have always been legally blind, but I had pretty good vision except for at night, so I didn’t think I qualified for a guide dog. Then I had a surgery that was supposed to prolong my vision, but a few months later I lost almost all of it. It started to come back, but it helped me realize how helpful a guide dog could be. It’s been so good to have that extra companionship and support when doing new things, and I really wanted to get back to exploring new situations without an extra sense of nervousness. My mobility teacher recommended Guiding Eyes, then my braille teacher said it was a really good school. It had a lot of the things I’m looking for, like residential training, and everyone I talked to was nice. I’m really glad I came here. All the staff are just so wonderful – all the nurses, the dining staff, really everyone I came in contact with. Clearly, it’s like a family.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “It definitely makes me want to get up and out on those days I would otherwise want to stay in. I’m more excited to go new places and I want to explore my neighborhood more. Everyone has been really welcoming and helpful since I got Acadia. It has boosted my confidence for traveling in situations where I’d otherwise take paratransit. I know I can walk there because I have a guide dog now. If there’s construction on the road, I won’t worry about it as much.”

Were there any training highlights?  “There were definitely a lot! My group was really great, and it made everything enjoyable. We always had something to laugh and joke about. Dan, my instructor, always made it funny and interesting. There wasn’t time for dwelling on being nervous. The first day it was very cold, so I was wearing a mask to keep my face warm, but it fogged up my glasses. So, my first experience working with a guide dog, I didn’t have much vision to rely on. That was my first time of truly feeling what it’s like to walk fast and trust this creature. It was very nerve-racking, but at the same time it went so well, it made me feel like there’s so much that’s possible. It made me excited for what was coming next. Also, meeting Acadia’s puppy raisers was a highlight. It was really nice to learn about Acadia’s life as a puppy and see how much love she was surrounded by from the beginning. One of her raisers had photos and brought her first ever stuffie toy. The other brought a photo album, card and presents for Acadia, and grew up in the neighborhood I live in, so  I went for a walk to where her old family storefront used to be.”

Meet Guide Dog Acadia

DOB:  12/4/2020
Litter ID: 4A320
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Female
Brood: Joplin
Stud: Dasher
Littermates: Amore, Admiral, Arlo, Alani, Aurora
Region:  Monroe NY
Regional Puppy Instructor: MeKalea Chambliss
Puppy Raiser:  Elinor Zollweg, Marci Frutkoff
Facebook: Monroe Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Acadia is a confident dog with endless stamina. She has shown confidence at the mall, the zoo, museums, restaurants, and much more while staying connected with whoever she is walking with. My favorite part about raising Acadia was watching her grow and taking her with me everywhere I went. Acadia is the perfect dog for her new handler, Christina, and I know that they will accomplish great things together in the Big Apple!!  ~ Elinor Zollweg

Acadia came to me as I was finishing up my 8th puppy. There was a need in my region to help out and I stepped up to the request. We quickly became a team that worked and learned together. Acadia taught me to never give up to reach your goals and now she has reached her goal to be a guide. Acadia loved to work and go on outings as well as play with other GEB pups. She was serious at times, funny at times and always thought she knew what was best. Congratulations to her and Christina, may they create many wonderful memories in the miles they walk together. ~ Marci Frutkoff

Photos of the Team…