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Doug and Crew

Meet Graduate Doug

Drew and yellow Lab guide dog Crew sit for team portrait

Graduate Team: Douglas and Crew
About the Team: Crew, a male yellow Lab, is Doug’s 1st Guiding Eyes dog
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Training: January 2023 On-Campus Training

Doug is an experienced guide dog handler; however, a first-time guiding eyes graduate. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his partner Daryl, a legal assistant and experienced guide dog handler. Since birth Doug has been low vision, however experienced a series of retinal detachments at age 11. It is unknown as to the genetic disorder which has caused these detachments; however, he has not let the less than 10% remaining vision prevent him from maintaining a full life. Though near completion of his bachelor’s degree in sociology, he has taken some time away to focus on other points of importance in his personal and professional life. Just one of these ventures is his work with a Canadian national Not for Profit organization where he performs a multitude of roles including data management, IT services and policy analysis. He loves his work with this not for profit because it has a greater impact on the Canadian youth who are university aged, and just entering into the workforce. He believes that providing the youth as a whole, the skills necessary to become the best leaders they can be, is vitally important to the success of the society. In his free time, he dabbles in web design, as well as assisting on a number of assistive technology-based platforms. He is part of the team who organizes a monthly technology drop-in supported by the Canadian Council of the Blind in Regina Saskatchewan called Getting Together with Technology. More frequently you may hear his engagement with the podcast hosted by the “Blind Android Users”, dedicated to demystifying the accessibility of the android operating system. 

How would you describe your guide dog? “Absolutely nothing phases him. Crew is bomb-proof. He is just such a solid dog. There are really no words that can truly describe Crew.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “Their response time to my initial inquiry was amazing. I knew of people who had received guide dogs from Guiding Eyes and were very satisfied. I learned that the quality and health of their guide dogs, as well as the training experience were second to none. Their “Running Guides” program was highly touted and complemented my very fast walking pace.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “It made navigating the city where I live so much easier. There was a gap of three years between my last guide dog and receiving Crew. Navigation was literally exhausting during those years. Crew has made getting around so much easier, less stressful, while making me much less injury prone, and a much more confident navigator.”

Were there any training highlights? “Training was awesome. The trainers adjusted to my past experience and were able to refresh my prior skills with their efficient techniques and training approach. The New York City trip and training experience was exactly what I expected and needed. There were four individuals in my class with 2 trainers. It was a great ratio of staff to students, which enabled the training to be completed in the timeframe planned. My prior experience with another training program was very similar to that of Guiding Eyes, which was helpful in making the decision to attend Guiding Eyes. There are a number of programs who still require one month of training; however, I feel that the two weeks offered by Guiding Eyes and the other program I attended previously are hitting that sweet spot. Kudos, to the kitchen staff for all their accommodations.”

Meet Guide Dog Crew

DOB:  4/9/2020
Litter ID: 4CC20
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Male
Brood: Guava
Stud: Tito
Littermates: Gemma, Citron, Collin, Chai, Curry, Cardamon, Claire
Region:  Northern VA- South
Regional Puppy Instructor: Janet Bartolotta
Puppy Raiser:  The Alger Family, Lois and Elizabeth Warner
Facebook: NoVA South Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

I started raising Crew when he was about 9 months old. I was supposed to have him just for a sit to bridge a home-change gap. After less than a week, I asked if he could just home change to me! He is a love bug. While he is down to go swimming or on a run or play in the back yard, he would just as easily enjoy lounging around the house. He was famous amongst family and friends for placing his favorite toys in your lap as if to share. My family and I could tell early on Crew was destined for service. He would greet you with a look as if to say, “Hello, I am a future service dog, how may I help you today?” I’ve had dogs in the past who clearly had talent and skill but we felt Crew such had a drive to help that we couldn’t see him in any other profession. He did have to overcome a fear of stairs and under-footings, as well as maintaining confidence in unfamiliar situations and he overcome every single one! We could not be more proud of Crew and we hope he has an amazing time in Canada and enjoys some REAL snow up there! ~ Elizabeth Warner, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…