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.
May Home Training
Graduate Team: Colleen and Drake
About the Team: Drake, a male black Lab is Colleen’s 5th guide & 2nd Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown: Richfield, Minnesota
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Michael Goehring
April Home Training
Colleen is an experienced guide dog user, having received her first guide in 1989. She is a member of the American Council of the Blind and attends the National Church Conference of the Blind annually. Colleen is a pet sitter for “Pets are Inn”, providing loving care for other’s pets at her home. She has one adult son who is married. Colleen is married to her wonderful, loving husband, Al, and in September they will celebrate their 30th anniversary. Colleen enjoys traveling with her husband and over the years they have traveled extensively, taking trips to destinations including Florida, Montana, Missouri, Las Vegas, and Mexico. She looks forward to Drake accompanying them on their future adventures.
How would you describe your guide dog? “My four other guide dogs were all yellow Labs. Drake is a handsome black Lab. He loves all people and dogs! He is very sweet and loving. He is also a hard worker in the harness. Drake likes to carry a toy in his mouth and will drop it into my hands or beside me so we can keep playing together. “
What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “When it came time to get my 4th guide dog, I decided I wanted a change and would try another school. I had friends that highly recommended Guiding Eyes. When I researched Guiding Eyes, I was impressed by the training program. When I got my first Guiding Eyes dog, Mackie, I trained at the Guiding Eyes campus and this time I was able to train at home. Guiding Eyes is a wonderful school and does an amazing job training the dogs!”
How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “A guide dog gives me independence and freedom! I love to go for walks, and with Drake, I do so without relying on others. My husband and I travel often and are planning a trip to Florida in the fall. A dog simplifies my travel and allows me to get around much more quickly than with a cane. I also find having a guide dog makes me more approachable. Everyone wants to meet Drake and know all about him!”
Were there any training highlights? “My trainer Michael traveled to Minnesota with Drake and did a fantastic job working with us. When I first picked up the harness, Michael commented on my huge smile. Honestly, I was so happy I wasn’t sure if I should smile or cry! This was my first Home Training experience. Drake and I got right to work on my routes and navigating the many round-a-bouts in my area. I am looking forward to Drake guiding me for many years!”
Drake was our Covid lockdown joy. He was a quick learner, but also mischievous. He would constantly pounce on our other dog when that dog was fast asleep, but Drake wanted to play. His love for the water knows no bounds and manifested itself into even going head first into rain puddles. Drake is happiest when touching a person and loves a good belly rub. I hope you and Drake have many enjoyable adventures together.
Regan Blomshield, Puppy Raiser Drake