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Joseph and Coach

Meet Graduate Joseph

Graduate Joseph and yellow Lab guide dog CoachJune On-Campus Training
Graduate Team: Joseph and Coach
About the Team: Coach, a male yellow Lab, is Joseph’s 1st guide dog
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin 
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Kathryn Poallo  

Joseph was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He lives with his very active and sharp, 90 year old grandmother.  Joseph is a musician and plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, and bass. He enjoys a variety of music genres. He is a member of the National Federation of the Blind of Wisconsin (NFB) and acting treasurer and secretary for the Milwaukee chapter’s board of guide dog users. He is currently enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee campus, majoring in general education for grades K – 12. His emphasis is in mathematics with a minor in history. He is currently doing his classroom practicum and is slated to graduate in 2025. Joseph’s hobbies include video gaming, reading and the movies. Joseph’s visual impairment significantly impacts his distance vision, secondary to optic nerve hypodysplasia, septo-optic (SOD) dysplasia, and diabetic retinopathy. Coach is his first guide dog.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Coach is really competent when harnessed and working. He is a really good listener. When off the harness, when I am teaching, he enjoys resting and playing with his tennis balls.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “The location of the Guiding Eyes campus and my hometown have similar climate and weather. This was one of my priorities for the purpose of my initial training and any future follow-up that may be required.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Coach has enabled me to be more independent and self-confident. As a result, I am outside in public more then previously. My mobility is much better than when I relied on a cane.”

Were there any training highlights? “My instructor, Kathryn, was a terrific trainer. She was excellent at breaking tasks down and communicating methods. We spent time with route and distraction training in the town of Yorktown. We took trips to local shops and worked on shopping with grocery carts alongside Coach. My class was comprised of five students. This was particularly beneficial because some participants were previous guide dog users. The balance of each individual’s experiences was beneficial to all of the students in my group.”

Meet Guide Dog Coach

Enjoy these photos of the team…