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Diane and Ranger

Thank you to our generous April Graduates Sponsor…

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.

– Richard Woods

Meet April Residential Training Graduate Diane

Graduate Diane sits on an outdoor bench on campus, smiling with guide Ranger at her feet.Graduate Team:  Diane and Ranger
About the Team:  Ranger, a male black Lab, is Diane’s 1st guide dog
Hometown:  South Kingstown, Rhode Island
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Allison Greenberg

Diane comes to Guiding Eyes for her first guide dog.  A pediatric nurse for 37 years, Diane retired from the job she loved as her vision loss increased, however she’s always active and especially enjoys walking or hiking. She loves spending time in the outdoors, but she has also discovered new things she loves, such as audio books, writing and watercolor painting. Diane and her husband live a mile from the Rhode Island coast, so most of her artwork relates to the ocean she loves, often featuring waves or sea life in soft tones of greens and blues. She loves loose watercolor techniques, blending colors with varying amounts of water or blotting them for different effects. Diane has never done paintings of animals, but says the subject of her next work may be a certain black Labrador. Her accomplishments seem to align with these thoughts she expressed, “You find ways of making it work. Don’t just give up. Just do it.” – a motto Ranger is there to support.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Ranger is…there are no words. He’s perfect. He’s handsome and full of life. He takes better care of me than I would have myself. He may have 2 or 3 toys in his mouth, but if I grab the harness, he’s like a soldier in the Army – right there and at attention. He loves to hike or walk fast like I do. We were matched to a ‘T’. He’s just amazing.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I lost my vision about 7 years ago, and after a few years my daughter thought I should look into getting a guide dog, but I resisted. Eventually, a call to the first school I contacted was very discouraging. Since then, both my sister and my daughter did research and they found Guiding Eyes. I wish I had done this earlier. I didn’t realize how much I needed one, but now I’m benefiting so much from having him. This was all happening gradually, and I got used to not doing things I used to do.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “It’s a game-changer. I’m out every day walking miles confidently. I go to stores now, where I wasn’t before, so I have independence again; I have confidence, I have security and I have trust in him. Now with Ranger, I got my life back; I have a new set of eyes and it feels good. This whole process has been so amazing; everyone at Guiding Eyes is so dedicated. The appreciation I have – I can’t even put into words.”

Were there any training highlights? “I was used to walking with a cane, but some people wouldn’t notice it and bump into me. With a cane, I would notice once I was already in trouble, like walking in a pothole… too late, I’m already there. With a dog, he sees things ahead of time and predicts what’s about to happen and stops me and goes around things. My instructor Allison taught me how to trust a dog. The most remarkable thing during training, was I saw his response to approaching cars. He stopped and backed up every time. This dog is priceless.”

Meet Guide Dog Ranger

Ranger has such a gentle soul. He’s wonderful and calm with people, especially children and never fails to put a smile on the faces of everyone he meets!  In puppy class at our local airport, Ranger was able to stay focused and confident surrounded by the other dogs and the human traffic and did well handling the small spaces on the plane. I was so proud of him! We collaborated with a local grade school where Ranger would sit with the kids while they read books to him. Not only did this help with Rangers ability to settle around people, it gave so much comfort to the children while they read. There is something extra special about Ranger. From puppyhood he was just able to adapt to every type of environment and situation. His easy going, goofy personality made raising him such a blast. Ranger is such a special boy, loyal and loving. I have loved every moment with Ranger and was so lucky and fortunate to be his raiser. I know he will be the most amazing guide and best friend to his graduate. I wish this new team nothing but happiness as they start their amazing life together!

Megan Banfield, Puppy Raiser of Ranger

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