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Dorothy and Roma

Thank you to our generous team sponsor…

Dorothy – We are proud to support you and Roma through Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Best wishes for a long and supportive companionship.

– Community Foundation for Greater New Haven

Meet Home Training Graduate Dorothy

Dorothy sits in her recliner while guide Roma keeps company at her feetGraduate Team: Dorothy and Roma
About the Team:  Roma, a female black Lab, is Dottie’s 2nd Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  West Haven, Connecticut
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Kathy Rooney

Dottie returns to Guiding Eyes after many special years with her beloved first guide dog, Gandolf, whom she loved with all her heart. She is forever grateful that he was brought into her life during a difficult time, 2 years after the loss of her husband and as her eyesight worsened. Dottie enjoys walking, shopping, tag sales and talking to people. As a people-person that loves a good conversation, Dottie admits that her walks often take longer than expected. She is an unofficial, yet natural, ambassador for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, often explaining her journey through vision loss, praising the organization and the guide dogs she depends on, or offering friendly advice to those contemplating a guide dog in their future. The dog comes first. Always respect the training they’ve had.  

How would you describe your guide dog? “She is wonderful; very smart and picks up on things you teach her really quickly. I say, ‘target pole’ and she finds the traffic light pole right away for me. Roma’s just gorgeous – I call her my little girl, and she gives me lots of kisses. I never have to tell her to lie down. If it’s bedtime and she’s had enough, she goes right to her crate. She loves visiting my sister’s, where she can run in the yard or play with my 4 year old great nephew, Romeo. Roma and Romeo; the harness comes off and they are inseparable.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “An O&M instructor at a service organization for the blind recommended the school and told me to make sure I wanted a dog. I was positive I did. My eyes were getting progressively worse, and it was harder to get around. Since then, I’ve always loved Guiding Eyes. Over these years, everyone has been so kind and generous to me. They’ve given me so much and I highly recommend the school.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I live in the city and used to be so nervous and scared when I went out, because I could no longer read the street or bus signs. If a building changed or was taken down, I wouldn’t recognize the area. I remember going to the hospital to visit my husband and I got so mixed up and scared until a cop asked if he could help me. When I got a guide dog, I had more confidence, and it was a lot better for me. I’d go to the Farmer’s Market with a backpack on, a cane in one hand and Gandolf in the other. We had a lot of fun.”

Were there any training highlights? “It all came right back to me. I have to take it a little slower now, but Roma was patient with me. She’s very bright, stopping at all the cracks when the pavement changes or to let me know of a driveway or the curb. My trainer was Kathy Rooney – I had met her before, and I love her dearly. She could teach me anything and I’d learn. I’m always eager to learn.”

Meet Guide Dog Roma

Roma is our first GEB puppy, and she was a joy to raise.  From the night she arrived, which was cold and rainy, Roma was confident, calm and curious;  she happily wore the too-large rain coat we had bought for her to go outside, and then came back in and fell asleep on our daughter’s lap.  To us, that summarizes Roma:  she loves people – especially children – and having fun, and if that means she has to wear a coat that’s too large, or an ugly Christmas sweater, or a GEB bandana as a Covid mask, she happily does it.  We know that Roma is looking forward to having a permanent partner to love!

Catherine Seibert and Fred Wright, Puppy Raisers of Roma

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