Graduate Team – Windy and Abe
Meet Home Training Graduate Windy
Graduate Team: Windy and Abe
About the Team: Abe, a male black Lab, is Windy’s 1st Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Melinda Angstrom
Windy was born and raised in a small Texas town, but now lives in the city of Austin. She works part time as a home health aide and has aspirations of going back to school to pursue a career in Orientation and Mobility. She hopes to specialize in helping the Deafblind community, inspired by friends with both hearing and vision loss. Windy enjoys bowling, playing cards and games, and listening to music of any kind. One of her goals is to learn to play guitar. She loves horseback riding and shared that “on the ground you may be limited as to what you can and cannot see, but once you’re sitting up high on that horse, there is a sense of freedom.” Windy’s feelings of freedom continue to increase, since receiving her beloved guide dog.
How would you describe your guide dog? “He’s an amazing guy. Guiding Eyes could not have done any better in matching a dog to me. His personality is so much like that of my first guide dog. He frequently checks in with me, making sure I’m OK. He has a very calming effect and has helped me in many ways. We’ve nicknamed him Zane, because it’s a sound my partner, [with hearing loss], is able to hear better than ‘Abe’. When it comes to work, he’s very enthusiastic about his job and always ready to go. As soon as I walk past the spot where the harness hangs, he stops and looks up at it like, ‘are we?’ I’m very happy with him and trust him 100%. This dog means everything to me; now he’s the first thing I look for in the morning and the last thing I check on at night.”
What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “My previous three dogs were from another guide school, but my partner Danielle, and her sister Crystal, are past Guiding Eyes graduates and strongly recommended that I try GEB. I still looked into other schools and researched their training programs, but I knew that these are well trained dogs. They’ve had a better quality of training and I like that Guiding Eyes’ is based on reward rather than correction.”
How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “After three years without a dog, I feel like I’ve gotten my freedom back. I used to walk slowly, but I’m faster and more confident walking with a guide dog. He’s an awesome companion, too. Even from a distance, my family says they can tell I’m happier now that I have him. Now my night travel is no longer an issue with him. I have partial vision in the daylight, but I can’t see at all in the dark. Now, I can go anywhere and do anything. I’ve only had him a short amount of time, but my life has changed so much.”
Were there any training highlights? “I’m just so grateful I was able to do a Home Training. My housemates are now in wheelchairs, and I wanted Zane [Abe] to be acclimated to that. I’m glad there were times they were able to join us during the training, to help him become comfortable around wheelchairs. I also really liked training on the familiar routes that he and I will be using around home.”
Meet Guide Dog Abe
- DOB: 8/7/18
- ID: 5A318
- Color/Breed: Black Labrador Retriever
- Gender: Male
- Brood: Otter
- Stud: Kaplan
- Littermates: Arthur, Ambrie, Ames
- Region: Bay
- Regional Manager: Cindy Tait
- Puppy Raiser: Kevin & Vivienne Gautrey and Regan Blomshield
- Facebook: Guiding Eyes Bay puppy raisers
Abe has a wonderfully easy going temperament. He’s extremely friendly and loved to play and cuddle up with his doggy roommates and his humans. Abe was completely unfazed by vacuums, to the point that we had to vacuum around him or ask him to move. We loved walking in downtown Annapolis by the water or strolling through Homestead Gardens. Abe loved going to the office where he would snooze on the rug or on my coworker’s feet all day. We raised Kaplan, Abe’s father, and it was so fun to see their similarities and differences. As far as physical appearances, they look very similar, but Abe definitely has his own spunky personality. Abe is the fifth Guiding Eyes pup we raised and we are very proud of him. We are thrilled that, despite the challenges of the pandemic, Abe is able to fulfill his destiny of being a guide dog.
Kevin & Vivienne Gautrey, Puppy Raisers of Abe
Enjoy these photos of the team and Abe 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.