Meet Graduate Joyce
Graduate Team: Joyce and Harry
About the Team: Harry, a male black Lab, is Joyce’s 6th Guiding Eyes dog
Location: Mashpee, Massachusetts
Training: September 2023 On Campus
Joyce is a veteran guide dog handler who recently retired from her career as Director of Disability Services for Cape Cod Community College, a job she loved. After her divorce, Joyce thought she would pursue a master’s degree in counseling so decided to take a course at CCCC to determine the complexity of course work with extremely low vision. Recognizing the lack of services available, she wrote small grants, networked with staff, and ultimately was hired to create a disability center at the college. Becoming totally blind soon after, she worked as director for twenty years assisting disabled students in successfully accessing coursework and activities. In her community, she is active and independent, enjoying the local senior center, her friends and reading books. Joyce especially loves spending time with her daughter and her three grandsons.
How would you describe your guide dog? “Harry is my sixth guide dog from Guiding eyes, and like my others, Harry is an excellent guide and loves his work. He is always ready to go. I am thrilled with the match and my in-class trainer, Kat, was precise and expert with her instruction. Kathy Rooney, a Regional GDMI trainer worked with me at home for several mornings to fine tune my Mashpee routes; she was an outstanding trainer as well. Harry, when not in harness, loves to play and run. He particularly loves to swim.”
What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “When I began losing my eyesight, I started networking with blind organizations. In doing so, I met some people who had guide dogs from Guiding Eyes and applied for my first dog in 1987. I have been returning for each successor guide and would never consider going anywhere else. Guiding eyes offers quality dogs, outstanding training, and caring staff. The organization is extremely dedicated, and I consider all my dogs precious gifts.
How has a guide dog impacted your life? “I’ve lived alone for years, working and raising my daughter. When she went off to college, I don’t know what I would have done without my guide dog. I live in a town with few traffic lights. Harry knows how to get me across the street, and Kathy had targeted for him places to eat, and where I go for my hair, and he just lays down and waits patiently. He does so well in restaurants, takes me to the post office and gets me around safely and with great enthusiasm. My dog and I are out every day. Having Harry gives me the independence and freedom of movement, both critical for my wellbeing.
Were there any training highlights? “We took the train and worked the dogs in Cold Spring which was fun. I just want to say that the school is absolutely outstanding. The staff, the admissions people, everyone is so on the ball. You have to be a certain kind of person to do a job like that, particularly the trainers. They work with people from all walks of life, all experiences, and they need to be able to adapt to all sorts, to a student’s needs, personality, etc. Trainers have to have compassion and patience. They work extremely hard. I find the dogs amazing.
Meet Guide Dog Harry
Litter ID: 8HH21
Littermates: Howard, Hildy, Hazy, Herman, Hugh, Hayley, Halsey, Hawaii, Hal
Regional Puppy Instructor: Kerry Lemerise
Puppy Raiser: Tina Petrick, Cindy & Andy Barnard, Barb O’Connor
Facebook: Colorado Puppy Raisers
From the Puppy Raiser…
Smart, handsome, exuberant and loving, Harry is the perfect companion! Harry loves long walks, cuddles on the floor and most of all, being by your side! ~ Cindy Barnard & Tina Petrick, Puppy Raisers