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Donald and Rose

Thank you to our generous August 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 August Residential Training Graduate Donald

Graduate Donald sits on a bench with guide dog RoseGraduate Team: Donald and Rose
About the Team: Rose, a female black Lab, is Don’s 1st guide dog
Hometown:  Westfield, Massachusetts
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Allie Greenberg

Don is a U.S. Navy and Army National Guard veteran who retired from a 30 year career with the U.S. Postal Service. Don lives in Massachusetts with his wife and new guide dog, Rose, who he affectionately refers to as Rosie. As a veteran with vision loss, he has received support and information through the VA’s Low Vision and Blind Rehabilitation Services. In his free time, Don enjoys taking day trips with his wife and spending time with his grandson, who lives in the area. He also likes to check out shows, watch sports, listen to audio books, and just hang out. 

How would you describe your guide dog? “Rose is smart, very kind, playful, and so very obedient. She listens and is so well behaved! I had a doctor’s appointment recently and she just sat down beside me. The staff at the office said, ‘what a well behaved dog!’ She’s a cuddler and really loves my wife too. She’s always with me – I call her my little mother hen. Recently I had my grandson over at our house; he’s 7 and all they did was run around together. They loved it. It really is so great having her with me.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I worked with my O&M instructor and asked what I needed to do to apply for a guide dog. The instructor let me know to reach out to 3 or 4 schools and which ones have veteran support. I applied to Guiding Eyes and got a call back right away. Guiding Eyes reached out to me several times and here I am! After I did all my paperwork, I got a call asking if I could come down because they had a match for me, and it was Rosie.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Having Rose has impacted my life immensely. It changes your life – it makes you more aware and keeps you healthy. Everything we do, we do together. She’s so obedient, she listens, and it’s really great therapy having a dog. It’s good for the soul. If I didn’t have her, I’d be sitting at home, not going for walks or anything. She gets me up and going. She’s changed my life a lot so far, and as time goes on things have gotten better and better. Wherever I go she lays right down beside me. I can’t go anywhere without her. Even when my grandson was over, she would stop playing with him and follow me. My grandson said, ‘why is she doing that Papa?’ I said ‘I think she’s just doing her job. She’s watching over me.’”

Were there any training highlights?  “Working on the escalators at the mall was kind of remarkable. It was also kind of scary; I was worried that Rosie was going to get hurt, but she did great! I was the one who would have hurt myself. Another time during training I was walking around Yorktown and a guy took a right on red at the light and Rosie stopped. I said to Allie , ‘did you see that?’ She knows what’s in front of her. At home, going into stores and visiting farms has been great! We went to the fair and she was excellent. It amazes me how well behaved she is.”

Meet Guide Dog Rose

Special Recognition: Rose was special named by Jack Cohen and was also a Pathfinder pup.

“It is the time you have spent on your rose that makes her so important.” This is a quote I found as soon as Rose arrived. My time with Rose was filled with love, challenges, many achievements, and growth for both of us. There were times when we would look at each other and wonder how are we going to do this. But together, day by day, skill by skill we worked and developed a relationship that made us both better. Rose, a better pup in program to be able to achieve her goal of a working guide. Me, a better raiser to help support Rose as a pup in program. Raising Rose during the pandemic allowed me to have her until 22 months old. At that point I was able to enjoy her solid skills and ability to go anywhere as a confident pup in program. And now she is a working guide. Thank you Rose for all you have given to me and thank you for all you will give to your handler.

Marci Frutkoff, Puppy Raiser of Rose

She is a happy, energetic, smart and fearless girl. She was  awesome at church Staying in a down while little kids toddled nearby and came to say Hi after Mass. Some of our most enjoyable outings were our bus rides, shopping trips and soccer games. What I really enjoyed about raising Rose was her spunk, happy energy, and how she learned things quickly. She is an exceptional pup! I hope she performs well as your guide and that you come to love each other. She enjoys snuggling!

Michele Capellupo, Puppy Raiser of Rose

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