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Deborrah and Dixie

Meet Graduate Deborrah

Deborrah and her German Shepherd guide Dixie share a loving hug after a training walkGraduate Team: Deborrah and Dixie
About the Team: Dixie, a female German shepherd, is Deborrah’s 3rd guide dog, (1st Guiding Eyes)
Location: Riverside, California
Training: September 2023 On-Campus

Deborrah has been an educational public speaker in her local community since 1998, when she first became a guide dog handler. In 2006, she also began educating the police departments of Riverside County about working dogs and became the first person to do so in southern California. In addition to her work with the police department K9 units, she promotes education surrounding guide dogs to school districts, colleges, and chain stores like 7/11. Her outgoing personality allows her to find opportunities to do so wherever she goes, whether it’s a plane, train, or elsewhere. Deborrah’s service extends to her being a veteran of the Army, and her late husband was a Marine Corp veteran. Dancing is a passion and was instrumental in her rehabilitation after a car accident as a teenager. She went on to teach ballroom and salsa dancing. She loves to travel whether within California, or to Vegas, Tennessee, or her home state of Iowa. Deborrah also enjoys music and supports friends who have local bands in the area. Deborrah lives in a senior living community with her 51-year-old cockatoo and keeps in touch with her active mother, a former guide dog handler. Deborrah is thankful for the incredible support of her lifelong friends since high school.

How would you describe your guide dog? “She loves balls, and when communicating with her puppy raiser, she sent a picture of Dixie’s mom with a ball in her mouth. Dixie is an excellent worker, energetic, headstrong, sweet, and affectionate. That continues to be the case as our bond grows.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I applied to seven schools and what stood out to me about Guiding Eyes was that the school seemed so different from my previous school. I was diligent about reading everything Guiding Eyes sent me before coming and never once did I hear that they were using the dog as a tool, even upon my arrival. There’s a lot of compassion for the dog. Everything was amazing, laidback, and more personalized for what you need, rather than using a rigid schedule. I convinced a friend to apply to Guiding Eyes after my experience.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I live for the dog, and I’m not complete without one. I saw some dark days during the year and a half waiting for Dixie and fell to my knees when Guiding Eyes called me to tell me they thought they had a match for me. A dog helps me feel more free than walking with a cane or someone’s arm, and it’s life changing. I feel good, confident, and safe, and it’s the opening of my world. It’s not just about what Dixie does for me, but what I can do for her. I had built up my toy collection from my BarkBox subscription before her arrival and I signed up for a private doggy park to get her running time in.”

Were there any training highlights? “The coolest moment I had was with my trainer Dan, when he unhooked himself from Dixie’s leash to let me guide all on my own. He said I was ready to take that next step. I was doing pretty good, and he’d let me go. Even though I’ve had dogs before, it was that feeling that I was doing this, and it was shocking to me. I hadn’t received that kind of training at my other school, and it feels like closure about making strides.”

Meet Guide Dog Dixie

DOB:  10/10/2021
Litter ID: 4D321
Color/Breed:  Black & Tan/German Shepard
Gender: Female
Brood: Tawny
Stud: Rugby
Littermates: Dove, Deverick, Dusty
Region:  Cleveland West
Regional Puppy Instructor: Macy Nauman, Leslie Stephens
Puppy Raiser:  Theresa Camloh
Facebook: Ohio Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Dixie was always eager to learn new things, and coupled with her curiosity and exuberance, she encountered everything, every day as a brand new, exciting adventure. She always faced challenges with the determination to conquer them. Although concerned the first time she saw large, steaming sidewalk grates, she didn’t want to leave, and moments later, proudly walked across the grates and wanted to do it again. Dixie always received attention and comments about how beautiful and smart she was while shopping in stores. She would look at the mannequins, never understanding why they wouldn’t fuss over her too. Always amazed at her intelligence and willingness to work and adapt, we are excited for your future with the sweet, loving, loyal and intuitive Dixie. ~Theresa and Marty Camloh, Puppy Raisers

Photos of the Team…