Graduate Team: Diane and Davis
About the Team: Davis, a male yellow Lab, is Diane’s 1st guide dog
Hometown: Wilmington, Delaware
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Stephanie Koret
December Residential Training
Diane is a new guide dog user, but not new to Guiding Eyes and its mission. Perhaps in anticipation of needing a guide dog herself one day, in 2016 she made the decision to “pay it forward” as a puppy raiser in the Delmarva Region. The puppy she raised, Wendell, is currently an active guide dog for another visually impaired individual. Diane is a retired nurse, but hopes to return to nursing in some capacity with Davis. Diane and Davis stay active with lots of walks and trips to the gym.
How would you describe your guide dog? “Davis is perfect! He has the sweetest personality and the greatest desire to help me. He loves to shop, and I can just tell he is constantly thinking about his next move, as he expertly navigates store aisles. He is also a funny and playful dog. He fit right into my family’s holiday celebration. He was very gentle with my grandchildren and accepting of my 5-month-old grand puppy. Despite the activity and distractions, Davis minded his manners and remained attentive.”
What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I learned about Guiding Eyes a few years ago. I saw an article about a puppy being raised in my community. That inspired me to raise a puppy! I am so glad I did, as I am myself now the recipient of such an incredible gift.”
How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I am so much more confident going out into the world with Davis. I find that people are more willing to engage with me than when I was using a cane. Davis is a guide dog ambassador!”
Were there any training highlights? “The whole experience was wonderful. I loved the small class size and the individualized instruction. The training was well tailored and relevant to my home environment and lifestyle.”
Davis was named through a special gift by the Davis Elkins Foundation and was also a Pathfinder pup.
Sweet Davis, you are our 2nd pup we’ve raised and 2nd graduating pup this year! Yahoo! You have been a wonderful boy since the day you arrived! Always eager to please and ready to go, extremely cuddly and affectionate, superb house manners, very polite and of course athletic with fabulous soccer skills. Soccer? Yes, we always enjoyed watching you carry a toy in your mouth and kick the tennis ball all around the house. What a silly boy! We will miss your gentle and affectionate demeanor but are happy for you to share your amazing personality with your new partner. All the best to your new career as a guide, you’ve done so well! We love you!! Hugs, Kisses and Squeezes! ~ the Yang Family
Yang family, puppy raisers of Davis
My wife was the primary raiser, and unfortunately, she’s not with us anymore. She and Davis did the hard work – for the most part, the rest of us just got to enjoy Davis being a wonderful dog, and not a worker man. Keep reassuring him, every time he gives you ‘that look’ – “Yes, Davis, you’re doing it exactly right.”
The family of Christy Gaitten, puppy raiser of Davis