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Jennifer and Nyssa

Meet Graduate Jennifer

Jennifer and black Lab guide dog Nyssa sit side by side in team portraitGraduate Team:  Jennifer and Nyssa
About the Team:  Nyssa, a female black Lab is Jennifer’s 1st guide dog
Location:  Tulsa, Oklahoma
Training: January 2023 On-Campus

Jennifer earned her undergraduate degree from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma.  She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy through online study at Western Michigan University. In addition to her coursework, Jennifer works with students at a local middle school, and previously served her community as an AmeriCorps volunteer, working with elementary school children. Jennifer’s days are quite busy, but when she is not working or studying, she enjoys spending time with friends exploring the city. Guide dog Nyssa is a perfect companion for all of the above.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Nyssa is 3 years old, and very hardworking and dedicated. Between my 50-hour weeks at school and working on my master’s degree, I am very busy and therefore Nyssa is too!  She sometimes seems to know what I’m thinking. A few times I have mistakenly told her to go left instead of right, and she knew to go right anyway.  She is so smart and intuitive!”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I was a cane user and was interested in the increased mobility a guide dog offers. Initially, I had applied to another guide dog school. I grew impatient with the lack of responsiveness to my application and decided to apply to Guiding Eyes. Guiding Eyes was very responsive and that made my choice to work with them easy! Nyssa offers me both increased mobility and companionship.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I find it is much easier to navigate my surroundings and avoid obstacles with Nyssa.  I get around so much more quickly!  Since getting Nyssa, I have found myself in new social situations, especially at school. When needed, I teach the students to respect boundaries since Nyssa is working.  Nyssa can move through a crowded hallway of middles schoolers like a pro!  I am very proud of her. Traveling will be so much easier with my guide dog. I will be traveling to Michigan soon for graduation and I hope to travel to more states in the future.”

Were there any training highlights? “Guiding Eyes worked hard to make the experience a good one and a successful one. The dog I was initially paired with was not quite the right fit for my pace. The trainers quickly identified this and introduced me to Nyssa. Nyssa was a great fit! The training was tiring and hard work, but satisfying and enjoyable too. My classmates and I all got along well and keep in touch. The one experienced guide dog user in the class was a good resource to the three of us receiving a guide dog for the first time. I am very grateful to Guiding Eyes and so glad I have Nyssa. I’ll be moving soon, and I know Nyssa will eagerly learn our new surroundings.”

Meet Guide Dog Nyssa

DOB:  2/19/2020
Litter ID: 1N20
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Female
Brood: Orly
Stud: Higgins
Littermates: Nita, Noah, Nanette, Newport, Neutron
Region:  Central CT
Regional Puppy Instructor: Maureen Hollis
Puppy Raiser:  Nancy Smith McCarthy
Facebook: Central Connecticut Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Nyssa is a smart girl who was raised during the pandemic and basically didn’t have any classes for the first year of her life. Almost everyone she met when out socializing was wearing a mask. Luckily this beautiful girl didn’t have to wear one and she brought a smile to everyone who met her. She loves long walks and to go shopping. She has her mother’s smile and eyes. ~ Nancy McCarthy, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…