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Ethan and Archer

Meet Graduate Ethan

Ethan sits next to black Lab guide dog Archer for their team portraitGraduate Team:  Ethan and Archer
About the Team:  Archer, a male, black Lab is Ethan’s first guide dog
Location:  Canby, Minnesota
Training: April 2024 On-Campus 

Ethan is a first-time guide dog handler, recently partnered with black Labrador, Archer. He earned his associate’s degree in business management at Dakota State University and is employed at his family’s construction business, where he serves as the Assistant Office Manager. Ethan loves the outdoors and enjoys camping with his wife and two young children. His hobbies reflect this passion and include fishing, gardening, and woodworking. Ethan appreciates the independence and confidence his guide dog Archer gives him, enhancing his life, especially in his role as father and husband.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Archer is incredible!  He is intelligent, kind, and sensitive.  He is almost 2 ½ years old and a real sweetheart. Archer and I are well-matched and walk together at a comfortable pace, unless of course, he gets excited trying to keep up with my daughter on her bike! He has quickly become a member of the family; my kids love Archer, and he gets along great with our pet Boston Terrier.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “Several years ago, my vision began decreasing rapidly. I found using a cane to be an inconvenience and a strain. I was curious about getting a guide dog, so I went online, and I found videos and testimonials on the Guiding Eyes website.  It became clear this was the solution I was looking for and I applied.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I am gaining more independence and rely less on my wife.  With Archer, I am more confident going to new and unfamiliar places, which makes it much easier to keep up with my kids and be the dad I want to be.  As a family we enjoy walks to the park or on a trail every day.  Archer has improved my quality of life and kind of leveled the playing field for me. The entire team of Guiding Eyes staff, volunteers, and donors have given me the gift of being more available to my kids, and I am very grateful.”

Were there any training highlights? “As soon as I arrived at Guiding Eyes and began training, I became aware of the intelligence and potential of each dog.  It was a little scary walking with Archer in the beginning, but my trainer Allie was excellent!  She taught me the skills necessary to handle my guide dog.  As Archer and I worked together, I could actually feel him ‘thinking’ through the harness, making decisions, and avoiding obstacles, like puddles.  We learned how to use the train and bus and as my confidence increased so did our pace.  While on campus, every member of the Guiding Eyes team I encountered was dedicated to providing each student with an exceptional experience.”

Meet Guide Dog Archer

DOB:  1/2/2022
Litter ID: 6A22
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Male
Brood: Brio
Stud: Darren
Littermates: Artie, Angus, Alastair, Asher, Alana, Amber, Allegra
Region:  Richmond
Regional Puppy Instructor: Madeline Bruggeman
Puppy Raiser:  Jenny McMichael
Facebook: Richmond Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Archer served as an integral part of our social emotional support for students with disabilities as he joined me daily at school. He also quickly became a favorite fixture and honorary Little League teammate! Archer was also adored by his sister and bestie, Halsey, while he was on puppy program. He is eager to please, always gives his all, and is so joyful! Archer is amazingly intelligent, always enthusiastic to learn and acquiring skills so very quickly. As I reflect my time with Archer, my heart swells with gratitude for the privilege of being a part of his life’s journey. To Archer and Ethan, I eagerly anticipate the chapters yet to unfold in your shared story — the triumphs, the adventures, and the unbreakable bond that ties you together. Here’s to a future as bright and beautiful as the spirit of our dear Archer!  ~ Jenny McMichael

Photos of the Team…