Graduate Team – Suzanne & Secret

 In 2020 Graduations, Graduations, News & Events

Thank you to our generous September Graduate Team Sponsors…

“In memory of Aunt Maxine, a life-long animal lover, who cherished all the animals she knew, but most of all, was in awe of Jada, Cindy Lou Altman’s Guiding Eyes guide dog, and the freedom and confidence Cindy Lou gained. Maxine would be beaming knowing this graduation was sponsored in her memory.”

– Cris and Cindy Lou Altman

“In memory of Joe Hilton, and wishing Guiding Eyes Moseley good luck!”

– Tina Shevetone and Judy Eisele

Meet Home Training Graduate Suzanne

Grad Suzanne and guide Secret sit on an outdoor iron benchGraduate Team: Suzanne and Secret
About the Team: Secret, a female black Lab, is Suzanne’s third Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:   Lowell, Massachusetts
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Chrissy Vetrano

Suzanne is a freelance writer and editor, who works from the home she shares with husband Jeff and 17 year old daughter, Michaela.  In her downtime, Suzanne likes to read and listen to music, but she also enjoys exercising, whether that involves a challenging strength training or cardio session, or a long walk with her guide dog. In the months after her previous dog retired, Suzanne was reminded of how much she valued the benefits a guide dog provides and looked forward to her next. Although Secret was destined to be her perfect match, the onset of the pandemic made the wait for becoming a team a bit longer. Now Secret, and her spirited enthusiasm, is a welcomed addition to the family.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Secret has bonded with me really quickly. She is so smart; very cute and sweet. At home she’s inquisitive and likes being in the middle of things, and she’s always eager to please. She just loves to get out and explore the world and is ready to work every morning. She has a fun little spirit, and that’s so nice to have around these days. You can’t feel down with her bouncing around like ‘Let’s go!’”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I had two wonderful dogs from Guiding Eyes in the past and it always felt like family to me. I love the training and the instructors here – just everything about the school, so it made sense to come home to Guiding Eyes to get my next dog.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I have always loved the confidence, speed and freedom I’ve felt when walking with a guide dog. I occasionally use the cane and it has its value, but a guide dog is my mobility method of choice. I am so much more confident crossing the streets, and although where we go is ultimately up to me, Secret is there backing up my decisions. She gives me peace of mind. There is also the companionship; we’re a team and I love that team feeling.”

Were there any training highlights?  “I was really impressed by the way targeting can be such an effective tool to bring points home to a dog, like helping to orient them to a particular place. I found that Secret loves the ‘Touch’ game and has so much fun with this. Also, she navigated through some pretty challenging areas during training, such as walking trails and complex intersections, but she wasn’t ruffled by any of it. She did her job and really enjoyed it.”

Meet Guide Dog Secret

  • DOB: 3/24/2018
  • Tattoo ID: 5S18
  • Color/Breed: Black Labrador Retriever
  • Gender: Female
  • Brood: Haven
  • Stud: Finley
  • Littermates: Sadie, Storm, Star, Schyler, Sander, Susan, Sloan
  • Region:  Columbus
  • Regional Manager: Leslie Stephens
  • Puppy Raiser: Jaime Dunaisky
  • Facebook: Guiding Eyes OSU puppy raisers

Guide dog black lab Secret sits in the grass

Secret was the first dog I raised, and I couldn’t be more thankful for my time with her. Being part of Guiding Eyes as an undergraduate student at Ohio State helped me discover a passion for animal behavior that has shaped my goals for my future as a veterinarian. Secret was beyond loving towards her favorite people, fun and silly and always kept me on my toes. She loved putting on her vest and going to work and her number one goal was to please. The last big outing I did with her before her IFT was a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with other GEB program dogs. She was solid in all of her skills, completely calm, collected, and concentrated the entire two hours.  We walked through one exhibit that was packed with people and she walked on a loose leash, slightly ahead of me weaving effortlessly through all the strangers. That was the moment I knew she was ready to be a guide dog.

Jamie Dunaisky,  Puppy Raiser of Secret

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

Friends and Family:  Watch this video to learn more about  Working with a Guide Dog Team.

Margaret & guide Anderson pose with big smiles
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