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Irma and Caeser

Meet Graduate  Irma

Graduate Irma and yellow Lab guide dog Caeser

Graduate Team: Irma and Caeser
About the Team: Caeser, a male yellow Lab, is Irma’s 4th Guiding Eyes Dog
Hometown:  Penitas, Texas
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: James Gardner
February Home Training

Irma is a returning Guiding Eyes graduate living in Penitas, Texas. She is retired from her career at a local high school where her focus was parental involvement. In this role, Irma encouraged and supported parents’ participation in their child’s education to foster a positive influence on students. Irma is looking forward to her daughter, son-in-law, and grandson permanently settling into the home that they are building not too far from her own. Irma is a member of a book club that she started with her cousin Adalia called “The Oldest Settlement Book Club”. The group enjoys getting together each month to discuss the latest book they read, followed by going out to lunch afterwards. In her free time Irma loves listening to books, going for walks, and taking care of her plants.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Caeser is amazing. He’s such a sweetheart. He’s everything I dreamed of. He’s cuddly and loves to be near me. Sometimes he comes over and gives me a big kiss. He loves to play with toys and sometimes he brings them to me, like, come on let’s play! He’s an amazing dog and I cannot begin to say how free he makes me feel.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “One of my daughters saw a show on NBC’s Dateline about Guiding Eyes and contacted them. That’s when it started; I got my first guide dog and I loved it. The people were amazing. When I trained with my second dog, it was great too. I always get the best from Guiding Eyes. You always get the perfect dog for you. After I lost my third dog, Kyra, in September 2019, right before COVID hit, I turned in an application, but the virus was spreading, and they shut down New York. I didn’t know what to expect, but Guiding Eyes kept in touch with me. When people asked when I was getting my next dog, I told them I was putting it in God’s hands. When I got a call from Jim and he said he was going to bring Caeser to me, it was the best of the best. When I called my children to tell them I was getting a guide dog everyone was so excited. They really do become a part of the family; a part of us. When I finished up my training I told Jim, ‘This is the best Valentine and the best birthday gift.’ It was just an amazing feeling.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “It has changed my life every day; every moment. It’s that feeling of freedom you get. I feel the love that Caeser has for me, and that I have for him. It’s an amazing feeling and an amazing love. Now I can get up and go for a morning walk and enjoy. Just standing there with him I can take in the morning, feel the breeze, the sun; it’s just amazing. I hadn’t done that in 2 ½ years. I can go to places and enjoy every moment.”

Were there any training highlights?  “From the very beginning I knew we were going to be a team and we were going to work together. When I had my first dog, I still had some vision – now I don’t have any, but I know we’re working great together. One thing that sticks in my mind is that he is so sweet. When Jim brought him in, Caeser started kissing me. I told him, ‘I have been waiting for you!’ We started bonding immediately.”

Meet Guide Dog Caeser

Caeser was a complete joy to raise. He came to work with me in the departments of physical therapy and cardiac rehab where he was an instant hit. He had many fans who were going through very challenging health conditions, so his infectious enthusiasm brought smiles to many faces. Caeser could sense when a patient was feeling low and would give them extra attention and affection. Once he didn’t want to leave a patient’s side and just plopped down on their feet like a sack of immovable potatoes. That brought a lot of laughs. Thanks to my children, Ian & Anya, who became his puppy raisers when COVID prevented him from going with me to work. They were wonderful raisers whose hearts received an indelible mark of Caeser’s love. We loved to take Caeser to music events, to the Blue Ridge Mountains and swimming in our local waterways. He has always been up for adventure! We wish his new person a bright future of partnership and lots of slobbery kisses.

Michele Howe and Ian & Anya Le, Puppy Raisers of Caeser

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