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Kaitlyn and Bea

Meet Home Training Graduate Kaitlyn

Graduate Team: Kaitlyn and Bea
About the Team:  Bea, a female yellow Labrador, is Kaitlyn’s 1st guide dog
Hometown:  Colorado Springs, Colorado
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Michael Goehring

Kaitlyn is a senior in high school, with aspirations of attending Colorado State University and earning a degree in Equine Science. After attending an Equine Assisted Therapy stable as a client for five years, Kaitlyn is now expanding upon her love of horses, working as an Equine Trainee intern. Although most of her interests are of the outdoorsy type, such as hiking, horseback riding and paddle boarding, Kaitlyn also enjoys knitting and playing the cello in her school’s orchestra. Bea is content to fall asleep beside her chair during rehearsals, no doubt resting up for future hiking adventures.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Bea is very curious, very motivated and very smart. She can be cuddly and silly out of harness and she loves the snow…absolutely loves snow! She’s really wonderful; I love her.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I was interested in getting a guide dog, and my mom heard about Guiding Eyes. I liked all the things the school was offering, like the post graduate vet assistance. I applied to a few schools and Guiding Eyes was the first to contact me, to let me know they had a match. I liked what I’d seen about the school, so I was happy to go with them.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “There’s been a change of priorities now that I have the responsibility of caring for a dog, but there is also more fluid mobility and companionship. When I go away to college, it will be nice to have her there with me. It will feel more comfortable when I’m meeting new people; I’ll have someone in my corner. Being able to get around more independently is what I’m really enjoying. The other day, we went shopping in Costco, where it’s hectic with no real traffic direction and everyone’s just going everywhere. That’s always super stressful for me, but we just wove through all the crowds. It was really nice, and my mom couldn’t even keep up with us pushing the cart!”

Were there any training highlights? “Bea is very smart – it doesn’t take her very long to pattern a traffic button, and then she knows where it is forever. It was great to be able to weave through the crowds at school and get around people. That’s something I was never very good at with a cane. Since moving through big crowds is something I was never able to do, I’ve really enjoyed that, because it makes me feel a lot more independent.”

Meet Guide Dog Bea

Bea was just a lot of fun to be with – she always kept us on our toes! She lived on an island in Casco Bay and travelled on the ferry to Portland quite often – lots of people, pups and tourists!! There were challenging days for sure, but Bea was able to navigate all the comings and goings in style. Bea is a superstar! We wish you good health, safe travels and a wonderful life together!

Lee-Anne Leverone, Maine Region Coordinator

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

Meet our other recent guide dog team graduates. Click here!

Friends and Family:  Watch this video to learn more about  Working with a Guide Dog Team.