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Julie and Eros

Thank you to our generous May Graduates Sponsor…

“The University of Rhode Island Puppy Raisers Club wishes the graduate teams good luck in their new partnerships!”

Meet Home Training Graduate Julie

Graduate Julie sits on a decorative stone wall with guide Eros sitting at her feetGraduate Team: Julie and Eros
About the Team:  Eros, a male yellow Labrador, is Julie’s 1st Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  Graham, Washington
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Andrea Martine

Julie comes to Guiding Eyes as an experienced handler. In high school, Julie enjoyed a variety of sports- tennis, volleyball, basketball, track and cheerleading, but just before she turned 18, she received a diagnosis for the vision problems she had been experiencing since childhood. In 2007, Julie obtained her bachelor’s degree, and soon after received another degree in paralegal studies. In 2015, Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer and spent over a year receiving chemotherapy treatments, but during that time she studied alternative healing methods. She was inspired to pursue a master’s degree in Health and Wellness Coaching, with a minor in Herbalism. Julie is also certified in Jin Shin Jyutsu, a type of Acupressure and with her business partner, Laura, is preparing to open her own business called InnerVisions. Julie has always believed that vision isn’t required to know your outlook on life; it is an inward journey. She truly feels that Eros is the perfect addition to their team and to her family. She has many goals for the future, including pursuing a PhD, and she is thrilled to have Eros with her on her journey.

How would you describe your guide dog? “There’s so much to say about Eros. Everywhere I go people tell me how beautiful he is. And his house manners are impeccable, I mean, just incredible. I never have to worry that he’ll stick his head in the garbage if I forgot to put the lid back on. He is such a loving dog; he loves to lay down in my lap and just wants to be near me. He loves his job too; I can feel it in his body when we’re working together. He has this enthusiasm that just radiates from him when he has that harness on him. He’s really a special dog.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I had a guide dog from another school and always felt more secure and confident with a dog. I have missed that so much since my previous guide passed away. Now I don’t have to wait for someone’s arm to get from the parking lot to the door. I can just go, so it’s a huge independence thing. Being blind and hard-of-hearing, I came to Guiding Eyes because I know not all schools can accommodate those things. Some friends of mine suggested Guiding Eyes, and I’ve always heard that the school has high quality guide dogs.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Using a cane for long periods of time can be painful for me and being hard-of-hearing can make traveling difficult, as well. I have always loved taking walks through my neighborhood, but these things have held me back. Now with Eros, I can just go without having to worry. He’s so wonderful. The freedom is huge. I just feel like I gained a lot of freedom from him.”

Were there any training highlights? “Andrea is just wonderful. I mean, she was incredible. Andrea traveled to my home area and conducted the training here. It’s interesting because I think there are pros and cons to training on campus and to training at home, but training in our home area was so helpful for us. There are some specific things about how I travel in my home area that would be difficult to work on anywhere else. We could really focus on the specific routes that we travel every day.”

Meet Guide Dog Eros

We loved Eros into being so he could serve a special partner. Julie is exactly who we wanted for Eros and we were privileged to share a home with such a giant spirit who helped us endure some difficult years. His determination to work and massive strength made him enjoyable to raise. I am a nurse and would take him to work, where he was awesome as my deputy every day and we were a healing force of nature team. We always enjoyed spending lots of time on the Chesapeake Bay. Dropping him off in 2019 was so hard, yet when we arrived, we saw Gunner, our very first Guiding Eyes dog, who was in class training with his new partner Lusi. It was a grace-filled happening, because seeing Gunner and Lusi performing as they were meant to be, helped me be able to surrender this lovable Eros. I realized he was just not meant to be with us. He passed his IFT and off he went to learn and serve. My heart was full.

Dixcy Bosley-Smith, Puppy Raiser of Eros

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