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Harriet and Verdi

Meet Graduate Harriet

Harriet laughs as she and Verdi take a break from trainingGraduate Team:  Harriet and Verdi
About the Team:  Verdi, a male yellow Lab, is Harriet’s 1st guide dog
Hometown:  Newport, Vermont
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Alison Greenberg
February On-Campus Training

Harriet is recently retired after enjoying a successful 32-year career, much of which was spent working at the Vermont Association for the Blind.  Harriet was the coordinator of rehabilitation services. She is a certified counselor and may explore the possibility of continuing to work in that capacity. Harriet describes herself as an outgoing people person. She enjoys being busy and involved in a variety of projects. Harriet also likes being active and enjoys the outdoors. She and her husband split their time between the rustic beauty of northern Vermont and the warm sands of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Verdi is wonderful! He is sweet, loving and compassionate. He will be three years old in March.  Verdi is very smart and amazes me with all that he knows. He is so aware of obstacles and traffic, and we continue to learn together every day. Verdi and I recently flew together for the first time and he was an awesome traveler! When he is not working, he enjoys playing at the beach or in the snow, depending on our location at the time.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “Over the years, I worked with many people who had guide dogs. I did not consider applying for a guide because I felt others needed them more than I did. Recently my vision has worsened, and I knew it was time. I applied to a few schools, but a friend of mine has a dog from Guiding Eyes and highly recommended the school. I’m so glad I listened to my friend!”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “Verdi makes it possible for me to be independent and live the busy active lifestyle I prefer.  With Verdi, I feel safe and less awkward in new situations. Whether it be venturing to the beach at sunrise or attending a meeting, I can rely on Verdi to capably guide me.  I also love that I can walk so much more quickly and keep up, (or pass!), those that I am with.”

Were there any training highlights?  “Training was a little scary for me at first. I was not accustomed to a busy, urban environment like Yorktown Heights.  Verdi was wonderful!  I quickly learned how capable he is and to trust him. We also trained in some quieter neighborhoods like my home.  Verdi impressed me with his understanding of commands.”

Meet Guide Dog Verdi

When I picked Verdi up from the Guiding Eyes CDC as a puppy, he already had the face of an old man and liked to take lots of naps. The latter proved instrumental in taking Verdi to classes with me at Cornell University, because he slept through a whole semester of physics and still received accolades from our professor for canine comprehension! He’s a loving, sweet boy, and he’s always been incredibly eager to learn. He especially enjoys practicing skills as “games”. He loves having a big fenced in area to play with other dogs or sometimes just by himself with his toys. This kid’s been on program a long time, but I’m so proud of everything he’s gone through to be by Harriet’s side for his 3rd birthday.

Michelle Robbins, Puppy Raiser of Verdi


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