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Jessica and Nayla

Meet July Residential Training Graduate Jessica

Graduate Jessica and guide dog NaylaGraduate Team:  Jessica & Nayla
About the Team: Nayla, a female German Shepherd, is Jessica’s 4th guide dog
Hometown:  Kansas City, Missouri
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Miranda Beckmann

Jessica is an active member of her community in Kansas City, Missouri, where she lives with her guide dog Nayla and her cats, Stardust and Jude. Jessica has never met a cup of coffee she didn’t like and enjoys baking, crocheting, and reading in her free time. She also takes ballroom & Latin dance lessons with hopes to compete professionally one day. Jessica also participates in events with The Whole Person, a nonprofit organization providing programs for blind & low vision individuals.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Nayla eats like a Labrador and is a total goofball and sweetheart and spicy in the morning. She’s very tall with long legs! She’s my supermodel. She loves kids and is really great with my four year old niece. We live on the 14th floor of our building and she’s definitely the building mascot and the main character. She’s the brains and definitely smarter than me. We’ve been back home for just a month and she already knows where everything is.  I tell her, ‘nobody likes a showoff, Nayla.’ She picks up on things so fast.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I had previously gone to another school and decided to go a different route this time. I had a friend who had been accepted at Guiding Eyes and after doing some research I chose to come here too. It was a great experience.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Getting out with your cane, especially with COVID, is a hassle. With Nayla I go out more because I need to take her out. I’ve been more active since I’ve gotten home with her, than I think I probably was the entire year and a half between dogs. We’ll go for walks at the park and I’ll bring her ball with us so we can play fetch. This weekend we’re going to a show together and I’m excited to see how she does with it. I’m getting out so much more.”

Were there any training highlights? “The day in Manhattan was a really nice perk. We did the High Line and it was extra special because we have a big high walk in Missouri called the Link. It’s a really good climate-controlled place to work her and it’s a good half mile each way. We’ll walk there and do some indoor work, go to the shops, and walk back. We can stop there and sit so she can people-watch and she always picks a different table every time. Our trip to Manhattan was so memorable. We started out of Grand Central and she was strutting it down Park Avenue. It was great to get that feeling of independence and to actually be there in the city.”

Meet Guide Dog Nayla

Nayla is a joy! She is confident, loving, and eager to please. She spent time with our grandchildren and is gentle and tolerant with toddlers to 10-year olds. She has wonderful house manners and is also good about keeping herself occupied with a bone. She loves playing fetch, her favorite outdoor toy is a large Jolly Ball, which she will return and drop in front of you. Indoors she likes to fetch a  squeaky ball and return it to your outstretched hands. Nayla is happy to work. She is cautious about new environments and likes to check things out. I’m sure you will become best friends.

Sharon Walker, Puppy Raiser of Nayla

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