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February 2016 Graduating Class

February 2016 Graduating Class
February 2016 Graduating Class

Best of luck to all February Graduates from Vista Lewisboro Pack 101

We also thank the Fain Family for their support of our online streaming capabilities.

Watch this month’s graduation live by clicking here.

Residential Graduates:

Mary Ann and Kirstie
Susan and Paprika
Dannie and Artie
Shawna and Erie
DeAnna and Kendalee
Alexis and Yankee
Claude and Darren
Ana and Wisdom

Action Training
Cecelia & Yale
Daniella & Temple

Home Training
Deirdre & Mark S
Melvin & Ward
Susan & Lyra


Many thanks to our instructors:

Class Supervisor:  Miranda Beckmann
Instructors:  Caryn Fellows, Nikki Wentz
Action Instructor:  Graham Buck
Instructor Assistant:  Ann Marie Poellot

Home Training:
James Gardner, Director, Home Training
Melinda Angstrom, Field Representative
Michael Goehring, Field Representative



Mary Ann and KirstieM. De Innocentes & Kirstie

Mary Ann lives on her family’s farm in Indiana. She is a single mom by choice and has two adopted daughters from China. She has been matched with her first guide dog, a female yellow Labrador named Kirstie.  Mary Ann was born with a visual impairment; her mom worked as a nurse and was exposed to rubella, a known cause of congenital blindness. Mary Ann has partial aniridia (absence of the iris) and congenital cataracts. She attended Purdue University and holds two master’s degrees in audiology and speech pathology. Mary Ann is currently volunteering as a teacher at a catholic school. Her hobbies are centered around her daughters, and involvement with her sorority. Mary Ann credits Kirstie with giving her a newfound sense of freedom and independence, and is grateful she will no longer have to depend on her daughters to act as sighted guides.
Congratulations to Kirstie’s puppy raisers – Eileen & Terry Matro!


Susan and PaprikaS.  Genis & Paprika

Susan lives in New York and has been matched with Paprika, a female black Labrador and her first guide dog. Susan was born with vision loss; today, she has limited vision in her right eye and is blind in her left eye. Susan also contends with severe myopia, uveitis, glaucoma and cataracts. She has had three fulfilling careers; after graduating from SUNY Binghamton, Susan pursued musical theater. She went on to become a legal secretary, attending Fordham Law School at night while working for a federal court judge. She eventually assumed the role of Assistant District Attorney.  Susan has traveled the world, taking trips to Africa, Alaska, and the Galapagos Islands. She describes Paprika as “a great worker and a wonderful companion.”
Congratulations to Paprika’s puppy raisers – The Oonk Family!



Dannie and ArtieD. Lathey & Artie

Dannie lives in New York. He has been matched with a male yellow Labrador named Artie, his third guide dog.Dannie was born with retinitis pigmentosa which affected his sight at a very young age. He learned about guide dogs during a trip to the library in his early teens, and has looked forward to having one ever since. Danny has a passion for technology and loves Apple products for their accessibility. He is a NASCAR fan and enjoys playing video games. Dannie is grateful for the mobility and the companionship he shares with Artie, and cannot wait to continue his journey with him by his side.
Congratulations to Artie’s puppy raiser – Jennifer Previte!




Shawna and ErieS. Maxwell & Erie

Shawna will return to Nevada with her fourth guide dog and first dog from Guiding Eyes. She has been partnered with a female black Labrador named Erie.Shawna had cancer at age two and is now totally blind. She is a licensed massage therapist and certified in animal and equine massage. Shawna likes being around animals, spending time with friends and family and going shopping. She has kept her retired guides, and they have become companions for her working guides. Shawna is starting a new career as a massage therapist and is excited to begin this journey with Erie by her side.
Congratulations to Erie’s puppy raisers – Janet & Larry Amberger!




DeAnna and Kendalee

D. Moore & KendaleeDeAnna has come to Guiding Eyes from Tennessee for Kendalee, a female yellow Labrador and her first guide dog. DeAnna developed juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, uveitis and glaucoma in her right eye while maintaining mostly normal vision in her left eye. She went to Mississippi State University for physical therapy and animal science, transferring to veterinary school after the completion of her undergraduate junior year. DeAnna received her doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1990 and later earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in 2008. She has always gravitated toward animals, even as a child, because she was comfortable around them without feeling self-conscious about her vision issues. DeAnna is excited to return home, enjoy retirement with her husband and spend time outside working in her garden.
Congratulations to Kendalee’s puppy raisers – Kim Harrison & The Harrison Family, Angie Thompson & Dustin Kelly, Madison Bowes & Family!


Alexis and YankeeA. Read & Yankee

Alexis has been matched with a male yellow Labrador named Yankee, her second guide dog and first dog from Guiding Eyes. Together, they will return to Florida.
Alexis was born with optic atrophy that is now stable. She is single and works as a vocational assistive technology teacher for a nonprofit. Alexis holds a master’s in vision rehabilitation therapy from Western Michigan University and her bachelor’s degree in psychology and English literature with a minor in German from Concordia College. Alexis enjoys reading, listening to music, cooking and baking. She appreciates the safety Yankee provides her. He will see the distracted driver and she will be able to travel independently.
Congratulations to Yankee’s puppy raisers – Konstantin Klitenik & Stephanie Dacosta!



Claude and DarrenC. Rouse & Darren

Claude lives in New York and has been matched with his first guide dog, a male yellow Labrador named Darren. Claude’s vision loss is caused by macular degeneration. He worked in home care for 30 years and continues to work one day per week. He enjoys fishing, reading and bicycle riding. Claude travels into the city, and before receiving Darren, his limited vision was making it stressful to travel on trains and busses. Darren provides a level of comfort Claude has missed, and he is now traveling again. He is looking forward to many trips and having his best friend with him, always.
Congratulations to Darren’s puppy raisers – The Burton Family!




Ana and WisdomA. Salmeron & Wisdom

Ana traveled from New Mexico for her first guide dog. She has been matched with a female black Labrador named Wisdom. Ana was born with vision loss. She is attending New Mexico State University focusing on the core requirements to obtain her degree, and considering the animal field or agriculture. She enjoys spending time with friends and family and relaxing when she can. Wisdom will open more opportunities for her and increase her level of independence. She compares the difference between a cane and a guide dog, saying “the cane tells you something is in front of you and the guide dog walks you around whatever is there.”                                  Congratulations to Wisdom’s puppy raiser – Lauren Reightler!