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Jessica and Danica

Meet July Residential Training Graduate Jessica

Grad Jessie sits on a shaded bench with guide Danica at her feetGraduate Team:  Jessica and Danica
About the Team:  Danica, a female black & tan German Shepherd, is Jessie’s 1st Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  Seattle, Washington
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Chrissy Vetrano

Jessie relocated recently from Colorado to the State of Washington, upon receiving her dream job as a corporate employee of Amazon, developing technology as part of their Alexa Shopping Team. Despite her career-based success, her most important job is that of Mom to 10-year-old daughter, Jean. Jessie is really enjoying getting to know Seattle with Jean and Danica by her side. When describing how it feels to work with Danica, she references musician Dave Grohl’s description of his song ‘Everlong’. It’s about “being connected to someone so much that not only do you love them physically and spiritually, but when you sing along with them you harmonize perfectly.”  An experienced guide dog user of 20 years, Jessie is also a runner and was initially drawn to Guiding Eyes because of the Running Guides Program. She has since discovered that Danica brought with her a team of individuals that has her back, making possible the successful transition to a new guide dog, during a time of exciting life changes.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Danica is a beautiful bundle of brains, beauty and fun. She is exactly what I wanted in a guide dog. She is my little race car, and she keeps me safe.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I believe what Guiding Eyes is doing with the running program is wonderful. It’s a very consumer focused program, of which I am proud to be a graduate. My needs as a single parent, working a high stress corporate job, in the middle of a move, who likes to run – the entirety of me and my family and all my circumstances – were taken into account. I was treated as an individual and as a grown-up that knows what I’m doing. I am really grateful.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I was born blind and am a very confident traveler with or without a guide dog, yet my guide dog helps me feel graceful; like I’m able to walk into a room and turn heads and can do it with poise and grace. There is a unique component between a blind person and a dog, especially a strong-willed lady like me. It’s a spiritual, as well as physical, connection between us that’s keeping me safe and that’s not to be taken lightly.”

Were there any training highlights? “The best part about working with Danica was coming into a new environment with her by my side. Learning to work with a new dog is like singing a duet with someone. She and I are learning about teamwork timing and how to physically harmonize in a beautiful way. She’s amazing and I’m really honored to have her. This was a match that was meant to be.”

Meet Guide Dog Danica

Danica was a sweet and sensitive pup who was eager to please and loved to play with the other dogs. 

Helen West & Susan Kroha, Puppy Raisers of Danica

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