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Elizabeth and Yonkers

Meet Graduate Elizabeth

Elizabeth and black lab guide Yonkers sit in team portraitGraduate Team: Elizabeth and Yonkers
About the Team: Yonkers, a male black Lab, is Elizabeth’s 4th Guiding Eyes dog
Location: New Rochelle, New York
Training: December 2022 On-Campus

Elizabeth is well acquainted with Guiding Eyes having received three guide dogs prior to receiving Yonkers. Elizabeth and her husband, Brandon, live in New Rochelle, a suburb of New York City. She has one son in his early twenties and identical twin teenage daughters, as well as a retired guide dog, Garmin, and their pet cat, Luna. She is currently a stay-at-home mom, having previously been employed by the Bronx VA for more than 10 years. She is planning to go back to school at Hunter College, majoring in Business Administration and Management. Elizabeth was diagnosed with Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis, at birth, and has progressively lost vision. Elizabeth’s interests include reading, lunching with friends and traveling. The family’s next travel destination is Las Vegas.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Yonkers is very active, and he has endless energy. My previous guide dogs were not as energetic as he is. He loves to play ball for hours each and every day and can be determined during non-working periods. However, when it’s time to work he is all business.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I heard about Guiding Eyes, and it was in close proximity to my home, so I first applied in 2003. I received my first guide dog in 2004. I have returned each time to Guiding Eyes because of the homey feeling, as their staff know me and I know them. Their staff is amazing, and work as one big family.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Greater freedom, and I don’t feel tied down. My traveling is safer, as relying on as cane was often problematic for me. I learned that the cane was an object finder while having a guide dog was an object avoider. I am able to travel safer as Yonkers avoids obstacles, traveling around them.”

Were there any training highlights? “The placement specialists and trainers were amazing. Shannon McGee was extremely patient, able to answer all my questions and enabled me to learn new techniques, including handling dog distractions. We only had four students in our class which enabled us to communicate easily and learn from each other.”

Meet Guide Dog Yonkers

DOB:  3/24/2020
Litter ID: 6Y20
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Male
Brood: Capri
Stud: Ryan
Littermates: Yahtzee, Yodel, Yoda, Yvonne, York, Yamaha, Yacht
Region:  Cleveland West
Regional Puppy Instructor: Macy Nauman
Puppy Raiser:  Gayle A. Papesh
Facebook: Ohio Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Yonkers was my Covid “bonus” puppy. I was already raising one year old Coda when they needed to get puppies out of New York so I “doubled” up for a year. “Exuberant” is the best work to describe Yonkers. He is a happy high energy boy with a zest for life. He’s got a lot of drive so he definitely needed a job. Having met his new handler Liz at graduation, I can tell that she has the same happy energy. I wish them many wonderful years together. Safe travels always! ~Gayle A. Papesh

Photos of the Team…