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Joe and Martha

Meet Graduate Joe

Joe and black lab guide dog Martha sit indoors for team portrait

Graduate Team: Joseph and Martha
About the Team: Martha, a female black Lab, is Joe’s 1st  guide dog
Hometown: Bethesda, Maryland
Training: May 2023 On-Campus

Joseph was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. He attended Loyola University in Baltimore, receiving his bachelor’s degree in business finance, followed by a graduate degree in public financial management from American University. He is employed as a Low Vision Resource Navigator for the non-profit, Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington. Betty, his wife of thirty-two years, is employed by the local YMCA as a childhood coordinator, and together they have three adult children – two daughters and a son. Joseph was first diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of six. His visual acuity worsened over the years leaving him with only light perception. Joseph’s hobbies and interests include history and reading, with a special interest in the Vietnam War. Joseph has stayed active through his love of running, which he has enjoyed for the past 30 years.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Martha is highly energetic and very upbeat. She is very impressive, resilient, and quite intelligent. She responds to commands and redirections easily and efficiently.

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “Guiding Eyes has a wonderful reputation. I have known a half dozen or so people who used Guiding Eyes and they were very happy with their guide dogs, training and overall experiences. Because they have a Running Guide Program, my decision to apply there became exceedingly more attractive to me.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Martha has had an immediate impact on my life. I now get to places faster, safer and I’m able to cross busy streets with little trepidation. An added benefit that I hadn’t expected is the companionship Martha brings to my life. She also helps me to meet people along my travels.”

Were there any training highlights? “Guiding Eyes training days are remarkedly efficient with the time spent on campus. From day one and each day forward, they build on the fit and relationship between you and your guide dog. Dan, Michelle, and Shannon worked closely together with the six students in my class. The staff to student ratio was often 2 to 1. The staff are collectively very positive. I found the food prepared by Chef Rob, who is a highly trained chef, to be outstanding. The training started in the smaller towns around the Guiding Eyes campus and moved to the City of White Plains, a moderately sized city, and then on to New York City, via the train to Grand Central Station. The overall experience was amazing.”

Meet Guide Dog Martha

DOB:  9/5/2020
Litter ID: S-3MM20
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Female
Brood: Noni
Stud: Oreo
Littermates: Miles, Maeve, Michael, Maggie, Mission, Murphy, Marvin, Missy, Minnie, Marcie
Region:  Wayne County
Regional Puppy Instructor: MeKalea Chambliss
Puppy Raiser:  Linda DePuy
Facebook: Wayne County NY Puppy Raisers

Special Recogniton: Martha was Special Named by the Wayne County region in memory of Martha Reus.

From the Puppy Raiser…

The Wayne Region named Martha in honor of my mom. It was a privilege to raise my spunky girl. She took the world as it came with no hesitations just like her namesake. I will always be grateful to my region for giving me another Martha for a short time.  ~Linda DePuy, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…