Graduate Team – Zhenya and Kingston
Meet March Residential Graduate Zhenya
Graduate Team: Yevgeniya “Zhenya” & Kingston
About the Team: Kingston, a male black Lab, is Zhenya’s 2nd Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown: Norwood, Massachusetts
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Michelle Tang (March Class)
Zhenya works in a customer-facing sales role for a large tech company. Her hobbies include peaceful activities like yoga and baking, as well as more strenuous pursuits such as rock climbing and hiking. She enjoys international travel in non-pandemic times and looks forward to future journeys with her new guide Kingston.
How would you describe your guide dog? “I love his work drive and he’s goofy! He certainly knows what he wants, and when not working, he follows me everywhere. He loves a cuddle.”
What made you decide to apply for a guide dog at Guiding Eyes? “I love the way the school operates, particularly the follow-up after we come home. Guiding Eyes is very community-oriented and I feel like I’m part of a family. The support I’ve had in transferring from my first to my second guide dog has been amazing. My trainer was incredible!”
How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “When I pick up the harness, I get a feeling of freedom compared to the cane. Kingston is a faithful companion too, supporting me through all the transitions in my life.”
Were there any training highlights? “We were the first Modified Residential Training class, so it was different from the last time I trained, but I felt the same level of confidence after a ten-day intensive class, as I did after the previous three-week class. I was impressed with how things were handled, despite the restrictions due to the pandemic. I never felt isolated and class still had that family feel. The one-on-one time with the instructor was very valuable, because it was tailored to my needs.”
Meet Guide Dog Kingston
- DOB: 10/6/18
- Tattoo ID: 3K318
- Color/Breed: Black Labrador
- Gender: Male
- Brood: Willa
- Stud: Chester
- Littermates: Kevin, Keegan, Kit, Kindle, Kathleen, Kelsa
- Region: North Carolina
- Regional Manager: Kerry Lemerise
- Puppy Raiser: The Smith Family
- Facebook: Guiding Eyes North Carolina Puppy Raisers
Kingston is a wonderful dog with many good traits, chief among them are his laid back attitude, yet motivation to work. In our chaotic household with lots of other kids and pets, Kingston was always happy to peacefully chew his bone, but during training sessions he was focused and excited to work. This served him well on his many outings, from the grocery store to hospital committee meetings, to high school volleyball games, where he relaxed on the bleachers as balls bounced past and whistles were blown. One of his most memorable outings was to my high school, still a little puppy, and while I gave a presentation about volunteering for Guiding Eyes, a crowd gathered to be able to pet him afterwards.
Ainsley Smith and Carrie Dow-Smith, Puppy Raiser of Kingston
Enjoy these photos of the team and Kingston 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.