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Julie and Flyer

Meet Graduate Julie

Julie sits next to black Lab guide Flyer for their team portraitGraduate Team: Julie and Flyer
About the Team: Flyer, a male black lab, is Julie’s 1st guide dog
Location: Hudson Falls, New York
Training: December 2023 On-Campus

Julie worked for 22 years as a licensed nurse and was a licensed home daycare provider. Avid motorcyclists, she and her husband have traveled up and down the eastern seaboard and out to the western United States. On Saturdays, the couple can often be found meeting up with their motorcycle group to ride together. When not enjoying their motorcycle, they travel across the country in their Class A RV throughout the year. She describes those close to her as her “village that grew into a city”. Although Julie has lost most of her vision, she taught herself to crochet with the help and encouragement of her daughter. Both her grown daughter and son are still local, so she spends a lot of time with them. Beyond keeping busy with family and friends, Julie is involved with the local American Legion post where she volunteers at events. She does what she can to support the organization, along with her husband, who is a veteran and volunteers, as well.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Flyer knows when the harness is on that we’re working, whether it’s at the grocery store or wherever we need to go. He knows it’s work time and is all business. Out of harness, he’s a bit of everything. Sometimes when we get home and I take off the harness, he gets so excited. He needs time to get that pent up energy out by running through the house after his toys. He’s very playful and he does have a football that he likes a lot. He loves tug of war but often he’s just chilling on his bed, content laying there and waiting for what comes next. He can be sound asleep but wakes up if he hears me get the harness out. He loves the snow. Also, he likes to cuddle and climbs up in my lap when we sit on the floor to wind down from the day.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I started dealing with significant vision loss about two years ago. I was finding it more difficult because we’re so active and we go out in high populated areas and cities. Even with sighted guides and a cane, I was having quite a difficult time navigating through crowded places and it was getting uncomfortable.  With my lifestyle, my instructor said I should apply for a guide dog, and gave reasons why it would benefit me, like continuing to enjoy travel. It took several months of talking with my husband, myself, and my family, and I’m so glad I did.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “With Flyer I don’t feel as worried when there’s a lot of activity, since I lose my sense of space when that happens. Having Flyer centers me and when we’re out, I feel more secure. My anxiety has gone down. I used to get so physically tired from trying to navigate spaces that I was unfamiliar with because it took so much energy to get from one place to another. I had to concentrate on every step I took. I was missing a lot, and I don’t have to worry about that with Flyer.”

Were there any training highlights? “Everything amazed me. Ben, (Director of Client Experience), wasn’t kidding when he told me the school takes care of everything, so you don’t have to worry about anything except working with the dog. From housekeeping, cooks, trainers, and volunteers, everyone was so nice, and they learned who you were within the first two days. The kitchen staff would learn what you like and include that in your meals. The trainers, even if they weren’t yours, always made themselves available to answer questions or help with a problem. If they couldn’t answer, they’d go to your trainer. I’ll never forget it ever.”

Meet Guide Dog Flyer

DOB:  7/2/2021
Litter ID: 9FF21
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Male
Brood: Oksana
Stud: Gomer
Littermates: Felice, Ferris, Frodo, Flint, Fern, Fancy, Ford, Fiesta, Fred
Region:  Dutchess NY
Regional Puppy Instructor: Elizabeth Vacchiano
Puppy Raiser:  The Carey Family
Facebook: Dutchess NY Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Raising Flyer has been one of the greatest joys. Flyer has never had a bad moment in his life. He is a gentle soul who is a friend to every person, dog or cat he meets. Flyer has been a great Guiding Eyes ambassador, with his very polite interactions with children and adults. Flyer has a sweet, calm energy, and is a pleasure to live with. He enjoyed his morning yoga routine daily, as well as our frisbee games and long hikes. He is versatile and willing to just quietly hang out, or spend the day playing or hiking. Flyer is truly a friend for all seasons. ~ Kathi and Jeff Carey, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…