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Joanne and Magnum

Thank you to our generous June Graduate Sponsors…

“Congratulations to the June graduating class and guide teams.  Healthy Vision Association is  proud to support Guiding Eyes and all the great work you do.”

Healthy Vision Association Charity Fund

“We celebrate all of the graduates this day. We appreciate all of your perseverance to arrive at this point in your journey with Guiding Eyes. We dedicate our shared sponsorship of this particular graduation to the memory of Kate Fanti. She was an enthusiastic Guiding Eyes volunteer who brought the understanding of the important mission of Guiding Eyes to WCDNF. She brought Omar to a club meeting. We miss her and we believe that her giving, friendly manner helped with the preparation of the Guiding Eyes puppies.  She often shared photos and anecdotes about her very special puppies at club meetings.” 

Women’s Club Danbury/New Fairfield

Meet June Residential Training Graduate Joanne

Graduate Team:  Joanne & Magnum
About the Team:  Magnum, a male yellow Lab, is Joanne’s 8th Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  Cumming, Georgia
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Laurel Sheets

Joanne studied at both Harvard and Stanford Universities where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively. She retired from the Central Intelligence Agency after working there for 33 years.  While at the CIA, she had many roles including Political Analyst and Legislative Liaison.  She has two grown daughters and currently lives with her sister in suburban Atlanta. Joanne enjoys reading, listening to music and membership in several clubs.  Her relationship with Guiding Eyes spans 50 years!  Joanne got her first guide dog at 17 years old and Magnum is her 8th guide from Guiding Eyes. Joanne credits her guide dogs with giving her the ability to safely participate in the community.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Magnum is a 2 ½ year old yellow Lab.  He is super intelligent and a quick learner who aims to please.  He is also goofy and playful. Magnum enjoys his many toys and the company of my retired guide dog Mahoney, and my sister’s pet Golden Retriever. I truly believe Magnum is happiest when by my side, and I am abundantly blessed to have him!”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “As a high school student, I met a fellow student’s Guiding Eyes guide dog, and I was so impressed!  I knew with a guide dog I would have more independence and confidence. I was right!”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “I am very outgoing and enjoy being with people.  With a guide dog, I feel there is no limit to what I can do.  Over the years, I have traveled extensively, including trips to Europe and South America. Even on an unfamiliar route, I’m certain if I’m given verbal instructions, Magnum and I can find our way.  At this point, I think I even know what Magnum is thinking. Our relationship is equal parts natural and magical!”

Were there any training highlights?   “Training at Guiding Eyes for me is like being welcomed home.  Everyone is so nice!  I appreciate the coordination across all the facets of the residential training program.  My trainer Laurel excelled at both canine instruction and human interaction. Laurel, Magnum and I enjoyed two wonderful trips to area shopping malls.  Magnum got to practice the escalators and he and I had a photo opportunity in front of landscaping hedges that spelled “LOVE”.  Magnum must have known what it said, because in the pictures he is kissing my face.  More proof that it is hard to have a sad day with Magnum.”

Meet Guide Dog Magnum

Magnum is the dog that forever stole my heart. He’s smart as a whip, full of enthusiasm, and even as a puppy was destined for amazingness. Magnum is SMART. While a blessing longterm, there were days as a puppy raiser that I wished he was a little less so. The day we picked him up from the whelping kennel he came to my son’s lacrosse game. He charmed the entire cheering session and set the tone for our time together. We loved our car trips and any type of outing. He loved people telling him how handsome he was. It was like he could tell it was a compliment and he would stand taller. I most enjoyed the snuggle time. He was such a love bug. Anytime he was uncertain even out in public, all I needed to do was sit down and he would crawl onto my lap (or at least part of him) and that would center him and give him the confidence he needed to keep going. I am so thrilled that he chose a career. He was always so proud while “working”. Magnum stole my heart. He will steal yours too! Enjoy him!!!!

Allison Fenton, Puppy Raisers of Magnum

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