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Gwendolyn and Julie

Meet Graduate Gwendolyn

Grad Gwendolyn and yellow Lab guide dog JulieGraduate Team: Gwendolyn and Julie
About the Team: Julie, a female yellow Lab, is Gwendolyn’s 4th Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  Essex Junction, Vermont
Training: October 2022 On-Campus Training

Gwendolyn and her guide dog, Julie, live in Essex Junction in western Vermont. Gwendolyn helps others through her work as an intuitive healer and spiritual counselor. A creative person, she enjoys writing and her work as an artist. Additionally, she volunteers at a local community justice office, supporting her beliefs in restorative justice. In her free time, Gwendolyn crochets, reads, goes for walks, and enjoys time with her many friends who live in the area.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Adorable! I would describe her as really affectionate, playful, and adorable. She’s a serious and conscientious worker, and in the house she’s very, very good and sweet. I’m very impressed with her. Her house manners are great. I even ended up going to the hospital for a while after we came home, and she was just gold while she stayed with me.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “Originally, I chose Guiding Eyes because I knew a lot of people in Vermont that had dogs from Guiding Eyes, and I was very impressed. This time around it was very much because of Miranda Beckmann and her assurance that I could get a dog with a softer temperament and a slightly slower pace. She delivered with Julie. This is a match that I knew, probably from the moment that we went out on route, that she was the right dog. I just knew it.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I spent 7 months using a cane while I was waiting for Julie. It’s a necessary thing, but I feel more mobile and more graceful with a guide dog. I can walk faster and walk with my head up when I walk with Julie. I also really enjoy having the presence of a dog in my house.”

Were there any training highlights?  “One of my highlights was working with the trainers. Judith is British and would make real tea for us in the morning, which I just loved since I have family in the UK. I also love Michelle Tang -what an amazing heart she has! Stephanie Koret, I’ve worked with before, and she’s fabulous too. Training was fun. It was fast paced but everyone was so helpful, accommodating and encouraging -incredibly encouraging. One of the things that has limited me is that I have back problems and the trainers were very good saying, ‘if you need a break, we’ll take a break and we’ll sit.’ The first day there was a place to stop with a low rock wall, and we didn’t need to work very hard to target it, but Julie put her paws up on it and wagged her tail like crazy. She’s so good at targeting and she’s so proud of herself when she does it. And she’s so adorable when she’s proud of herself!”

Meet Guide Dog Julie

DOB:  5/10/2020
Litter ID: 7JJ20
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Female
Brood: Mercy
Stud: Yarmouth
Littermates: Juniper, Jake, Journey, Jane, Jim
Region:  Montgomery
Regional Puppy Instructor: Jeanyne Gembarski
Puppy Raiser:  The Reilly Family
Facebook: Montgomery Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

We got Julie during lockdown, which meant we got a lot of time to spend with her, watching her learn and grow into a very sensitive and loving girl. Julie was always extremely friendly and loving, even as a small pup. She loved to be hugged, kissed, and petted. We always enjoyed coming home to her caring personality and spending time with her. Julie loved to play in the water, along with playing with other dogs and with toys. Her favorite outings were to US National Parks and walking in the woods. She would always look at us with the sweetest smile on her face, and was so eager to please! Her curious attitude made her an excellent pup to train and raise.  ~Lila and Katy Reilly, Puppy Raisers

Photos of the Team…