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Deborah and Nugent

Thank you to our generous April Graduate Sponsor…

In memory of my wife, Barbara Woods, who loved dogs and Guiding Eyes. Through our entire marriage, we have had dogs, usually two at a time, and enjoyed them! Sponsoring the graduating class is a perfect way to honor her memory.

– Richard Woods

Meet April Residential Graduate Deborah

Graduate Debbie smiles as she poses with black Lab guide dog Nugent on an outdoor benchGraduate Team: Deborah and Nugent
About the Team: Nugent, a male black Lab, is Debbie’s first guide dog
Hometown: Clifton Park, New York
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Deanna Lentini

Debbie has made her living as a Special Education teacher for the past 28 years. She currently works with a kindergarten class made up of children with, and without, special needs. Debbie has many interests, including reading mystery novels, walking, bowling, and kayaking. She also enjoys playing miniature golf, going to movies, meeting up with friends, and exploring new and different things to do.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Nugent is trustworthy, dependable, loyal, funny and he makes me laugh. He’s patient and learns quickly; the best dog I’ve ever encountered! He has a favorite dog bed where he lies near me in the lounge, or stays patiently under my desk, nudging me when he wants to play. But he takes the hint when I don’t!”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog at Guiding Eyes? “My vision had begun to deteriorate and I knew that I needed to do something about it. Guiding Eyes was highly recommended to me by my O&M instructor, as well as the Commission for the Blind.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “He’s changed my life! Nugent has enabled me to do things I wasn’t comfortable doing before, like walking around at night. I just wish I’d decided to get a guide dog sooner!”

Were there any training highlights? “My lightbulb moment was the trust I developed in him at the train station, when he pulled me back from the edge of the platform. This trust grew even more when he safely walked me around in the dark.”

Meet Guide Dog Nugent

Nugent was a rockstar from the beginning!  He was the easiest puppy we have raised for Guiding Eyes (LeBlanc’s 18th pup and Niezrecki’s 4th pup).  Class can be a challenging situation  withso many dogs and distractions, but Nugent was the most chilled out dog in class and always ready to learn.          He was a great listener, eager to please and loved to snuggle. He gets along well with all living things (people, other dogs, our pet birds) and loved meeting new people everywhere he went. He was always sweet and a very good companion. Nugent loved camping, fishing, and swimming with Bill and Alice, was a regular at Anna’s high school volleyball games and came to celebrate her high school graduation. Nugent went to the school where Amy worked, to teach the children about service dogs. Nugent’s mother, Viola, was our (Amy and Anna’s) first Guiding Eyes pup and we were all so excited to raise her son. Nugent has lived up to her legacy.

Bill & Alice LeBlanc and Amy & Anna Niezrecki,
Puppy Raisers of Nugent

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

Meet our other recent guide dog team graduates. Click here!

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