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Frances and Yolanda

Meet Graduate Frances

Franny and yellow Lab guide dog Yolanda sit for their team portraitGraduate Team: Frances and Yolanda
About the Team: Yolanda, a female yellow Lab, is Frances’ 1st guide dog
Location: Buckeye, Arizona
Training: March 2024 On-Campus

Franny has been serving as the vice president of the Psychology Club in her high school, however, her graduation is approaching soon, which marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter. In the fall, she and her new guide dog, Yolanda, will be attending Northern Arizona University. Her goal is to pursue a degree in psychology, specifically focusing on clinical psychology. She hopes to help individuals with disabilities and vision loss manage challenging situations in their social lives and overcome tough times. Franny lives with her mom and younger sister, with whom she’s extremely close. Yolanda and her sister’s terrier mix named Tug, have similar personalities, and often cuddle or chase each other around. Franny has been enjoying horseback riding on and off since she was 4 years old. She loves baking and hiking and enjoys psychologically analyzing books, movies, and TV shows, hanging out with friends, and cuddling with Yolanda.

How would you describe your guide dog? “She’s goofy, energetic, and loves to play and cuddle. When I first brought her to my high school, she encountered so many students. She loves people so much, so she had to adjust to the distractions when she’s in her harness.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “When I was doing my research, I looked at a bunch of different schools to see what their waitlist was, in addition to different factors, such as whether they’re a nonprofit and what kind of dogs they raise. Guiding Eyes seemed like such a good place for a first-time guide dog user like me, not knowing much about guide dogs. I feel like I’ve made the right choice because I’ve gotten so much support and that’s amazing.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “There are so many things that have changed. It’s so special going from a lifeless cane to a living breathing creature, that’s with you during all the different stuff you do each day. An instructor from another organization I’m a part of let me know about an interview opportunity. Someone wanted to speak with a visually impaired high school student. I sent in information about my story and Yolanda, and I think getting her is the sole reason I got this article.”

Were there any training highlights? “I know a few people who have either worked with other guide dog users or have used guide dogs in the past. I was expecting training to be fun and exciting, but also hard. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy, but it didn’t feel like the boot camp everyone was saying it was going to be. It was incredible. The fact that the instructors turned such an intense training program into an amazing experience is incredible.”

Meet Guide Dog Yolanda

DOB:  4/13/2022
Litter ID: 3Y22
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Janet
Stud: Garcia
Littermates: Yeti, Yogi, Yaeger, Yoyo, Yvonne, Yvetta
Region:  Eastern MA
Regional Puppy Instructor: Lisa Bumbalo
Puppy Raiser:  Lisa Bumbalo & Family , The Mandigers Family
Facebook: Eastern Mass Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Yolanda is a little girl with a big personality. She is super smart and loves learning. A favorite game for her is targeting a bell. She would come from anywhere in the house if she heard that bell! She’s always up for a new adventure and loves exploring new places with her favorite humans. I can’t wait to watch this team take on the world! Congratulations Franny and Yolanda! ~ Lisa Bumbalo 

Yolanda has girl power, she amazed us with her never lasting energy to learn, work and go on outings. She keeps going and is eager to make you happy. She rode the Boston Subway like a pro and walked busy Boston many times. Raising a puppy is not always easy, but the rewards come in many ways; helping vision impaired persons, the amazing GEB raisers/volunteers/staff family, being part of the puppy’s journey and having this bundle of joy in your home. ~Jolanda Mandigers 

Photos of the Team…