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Josh and Moira

Meet Graduate Josh

Josh and yellow Lab guide dog Moira sit for their team portraitGraduate Team:   Josh and Moira
About the Team:   Moira is a female, yellow Lab and Josh’s 1st guide dog
Location:   Mansfield, Massachusetts
Training:   March 2024 On-Campus

Josh is employed as the Assistant Dean of Accessibility and Title IX at Roxbury Community College. He most often engages with students and employees to foster an accessible and inclusive experience for community members or supports students facing a medical emergency. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree from Boston College. In addition to his position at Roxbury, Josh and his wife are the busy parents of two young children. He was declared legally blind at the age of 13, but staying fit and active is of utmost importance to Josh. He went on to become a dedicated runner, participating in the Boston Marathon twice in his mid-20s. He also enjoys playing paintball, relying solely on his hearing for aiming. While residing in Boston from 2010 to 2017, Josh was active with Achilles International, a running group that aims to empower individuals with disabilities to take part in mainstream running events. Moira was trained in the Running Guide Program, and Josh, who runs with human guide runners, is looking forward to running with her.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Moira is affectionate, curious, and loves to cuddle. She is great with my children and wife and fits right in with the family. She easily handled trips to the barber shop and my mother-in-law’s birthday party at a very busy and crowded restaurant. In harness, she is incredibly brilliant, and quickly remembered the route to the commuter rail we take to work daily in Boston.  She is very smart, and even the trainers mentioned how special she was.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “The biggest draw for me was the Running Guide Program because of how important that is for me physically and mentally.  Running has a special place in my heart and coming back to that has been a goal for me. I’ve had a few good friends and acquaintances who are blind or with low vision with service dogs. When talking with them and hearing recommendations, I felt like a running guide was the best option for me.”

How has a guide dog impacted your life? “The cane is a great tool and I have been using one since I was 19.  With a guide dog, I have a heightened awareness of our surroundings. The feedback Moira provides allows me to quickly understand if something in the environment has changed since the last time we traversed that area.  That is a game changer. I feel safer and have more confidence, and when commuting, she can easily adapt to changes and fit under my seat. There is a long walking path from the train to the campus and it is a breeze walking with Moira. Also, if I am feeling stressed at work, I can put my hand under my desk and get a few dog kisses or pet her for a bit.”

Were there any training highlights? “Michelle and Shannon were very skilled trainers. Off-campus, we ate in restaurants, and the dogs settled well so we had a nice lunch.  We experienced the mall, and I even stopped with Moira to get my beard trimmed. The dogs also did well when we went to a movie theater, where several of the staff had various disabilities, and the movie had audible descriptions. The most difficult part was being away from my wife and my kids for two weeks. At the school, the food was amazing, and all the love that was put into it by the staff made it feel more like home. To be chosen by Guiding Eyes and have Moira as my guide dog feels pretty remarkable.  It is a special opportunity and I do not take it for granted.”

Meet Guide Dog Moira

DOB:  11/26/2021
Litter ID: 6M321
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Sally
Stud: Charlie
Littermates: Maxine, Mazie, Millie
Region:  Delmarva
Regional Puppy Instructor: Cindy Tait
Puppy Raiser:  Debbie & Tom Roschli
Facebook: Delmarva Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Moira was our first Guiding Eyes dog that we have raised. From the beginning she was an absolute love. She fit seamlessly into our family and household. She was great around everyone and every dog that passed through our doors. Her favorite activity was swimming. Whether in our pool or at the beach. She also loved to go for rides on our boat. We loved taking her to our favorite waterfront restaurants and festivals in the summer where she was always a big hit. She loved affection and cuddles. I’m sure she will be a great asset and companion to the lucky graduate. Congratulations! ~ Debbie Roschli 

Photos of the Team…