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Jennifer and Olive

Meet Graduate Jennifer

Jen and black lab guide dog Olive sit for team portrait

Graduate Team:   Jennifer and Olive
About the Team:  Olive, a female black Lab, is Jennifer’s 1st guide dog
Location:   Beacon, New York
Training:  July 2023 On-Campus

Jennifer lives in Beacon with her mother and one of her brothers. She is adventurous, enjoys traveling and visiting her relatives in Puerto Rico a couple of times a year.  She likes walking to shops, seeing friends, and going out to dinner. She and Olive enjoy their hiking adventures on the Madam Brett Park trails and the Dennings Point trails. She is thankful that now she is ready to be partnered with a guide dog, and that working with Olive has made travel so much easier and safer.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “I love her so much. She makes me laugh and she can be so goofy.  In harness she is a completely different dog.  She is very attentive and checks in with me when we are out.  She is smart and well-mannered in public areas.  She learns the places I walk to so quickly, and she stops at one place like, ‘are we going in here?’ and when I say no, not here, she takes me to the next place I usually go. She’s amazing. Once we’ve visited a place, she remembers it. On the train or buses, she’s really good.  She just stays at my feet and travels so well. She is my shadow but when I take the harness off, she’s back to being her playful self.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I like to be independent and with RP I knew my vision was getting worse. I talked with my O & M instructor and asked her opinion. She gave me the name of someone who had a guide dog from Guiding Eyes and lived not far from me. I contacted that person, and we talked about Guiding Eyes, and working with the trainers and instructors and how much it changed her life.  Now she and I are good friends.”

How has a guide dog impacted your life?  “Looking back, I started training several years ago, but I really wasn’t ready. The dog and I didn’t establish a good connection, so I decided to wait.  Now, I’m  ready and Olive and I have really bonded. She’d just look up at me with those puppy dog eyes, always pulling at my heartstrings. With her, I am definitely more social; I’m happier.  I like to interact and share, and can’t wait to have more adventures, like going to Disney.”

Were there any training highlights?  “I was in class at Guiding Eyes, and it was so much fun. The trainers were hilarious and had a great sense of humor. They were amazing, knew what they were talking about, and were very generous with their time and answering any questions.  I got to work with Deanna, who I also met three years ago, and she got to see how I am more confident now.  With our class, Olive and I  practiced using an escalator. It was scary, but I’m glad we learned how to do it. We took the train to Beacon, and we went to places like Starbucks and Max’s Restaurant.  Olive did great with everything, even going with the class to the movie ‘Barbie’.  I even wore pink. Olive was wonderful, laying at my feet during the movie. I’d definitely recommend going to the on-campus program. Everyone is so nice, sweet, and generous. They want you to concentrate on working with your dog, and they take care of everything else.  I can’t thank everyone enough.”

Meet Guide Dog Olive

DOB: 10/7/2020
Litter ID: S-10O20
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Ode
Stud: Lloyd
Littermates: Otis, Opie, Ortega, Oakley, Olana
Region:  NoVA-North
Regional Puppy Instructor: Janet Bartolotta
Puppy Raiser:  Barbara Weigand, Katie Meuer
Facebook: NoVa North Puppy Raisers

Special Recognition: Olive was special named by Sally Stephenson.

From the Puppy Raisers…

Olive was such a fun dog to raise! She is an incredibly sweet, smart, and spunky girl who is always ready to adventure and explore together. I took over raising Olive when she was 8 months old, and we quickly formed an amazing connection. Olive is very determined and will always try her best. It was always fun to watch and help her think through things and learn about her world. She also was best friends with my personal pets – you could often find her snuggling close to one of them for a snooze. I’m so excited for her new adventures together with her partner Jennifer, and wish them all the best! Olive, you’ll always hold a place in my heart! ~ Katie Meuer, Puppy Raiser

Never underestimate Olive. She will prove to you that, with your dedication, confidence building training and love, determined little “pigs can fly”. ~Barbara Weigand, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…