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Dustin and Pilot

Meet Graduate Dustin

Graduate Dustin and GSD guide PilotGraduate Team:  Dustin and Pilot
About the Team: Pilot, a male black & tan German Shepherd, is Dustin’s 2nd Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  Colchester, Vermont
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Miranda Beckmann
February Home Training

Dustin attended school in Winooski, Vermont before transferring to the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts. Dustin also received training relating to the hospitality industry at the National Statler Center for Careers in Hospitality.  He currently works as a kitchen assistant at a senior assisted-living facility in Shelburne, VT. Dustin is also a Tupperware representative and enjoys participating in event shows.  In his spare time, he enjoys listening to live music and Red Sox baseball games.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Pilot is a lot of fun and likes to work. He is very attentive and aware of everything in his surroundings! When Pilot is not working, his favorite thing is to play with my roommate’s dog.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “Pilot is my second guide dog from Guiding Eyes.  After my first guide, AJ, retired, I knew I would go back to Guiding Eyes for my next guide. I really appreciate the excellent staff and the support services Guiding Eyes offers throughout the working life of the dog. I can’t say enough about Guiding Eyes as a great organization, with the most respectful staff.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “My guide dog makes it possible for me to safely move around at my workplace.  When the weather improves in the spring, I’ll be able to get more exercise as I travel routes near my home with Pilot. Overall, having a guide dog gives me a sense of freedom and I am much more willing to travel.”

Were there any training highlights?  “When I received Pilot, I participated in the Home Training program. I found it very advantageous to train in my own community and practice my actual routes with Pilot. It also allowed me to continue working part-time on the days I had training. Training was a lot of fun, and my instructor Miranda was outstanding.”

Meet Guide Dog Pilot


We met Pilot as a 4 month old pup. The day after we picked Pilot up, we had a picnic in a park with a pond. He wanted so much to be in the pond with the kids so it came as no surprise that one of his favorite things to do is chase a ball into a pool. It took some bravery, but he ultimately mastered jumping in the deep end if it was the closest path to the ball. His other passion was to play soccer in the back yard. We’re sure Beckham or Ronaldo couldn’t get a ball past him. We raised him during the height of Covid, so many of our outings were hikes. He spent his days with us as we taught and attended school remotely. Pilot attended some music staff meetings in person where everyone took turns helping him practice his “close”, “sit”, and “down” commands. Pilot was a great hit in the superintendent’s office, as he was everywhere we went. We’re so glad he has become a guide dog!

Kristiana, Susan & Lilia Lauser, Puppy Raisers of Pilot


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