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Kara and Petals

Meet March Residential Graduate Kara

Grad Kara and beautiful Guide Dog Petals sit together on an outdoor benchGraduate Team: Kara and Petals
About the Team: Petals, a female yellow Lab, is Kara’s 2nd Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Stephanie Koret

Kara is a visual artist who creates drawings and paintings, primarily large, boldly colored, contemporary abstracts in acrylic, as well as clay sculptures. Kara employs adaptive lighting techniques and visual aids for those with vision loss, to create her work. She exhibits and sells her art through commission and her website. Among many other things, Kara enjoys yoga, meditation and creative dance.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Petals has a mischievous, but charming edge, which helps me notice things I haven’t before. She’s very sprightly, with curious energy and joie de vivre that is very contagious, so she makes me laugh. She’s playful and exploratory when off harness, but when working is completely focused and efficient, keeping me on the straight and narrow!”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog at Guiding Eyes? “I didn’t even consider going elsewhere, as my first experience with Guiding Eyes was so positive. The post-placement support from other graduates was so valuable, that I can’t imagine going to another school. I’ve made new friends along the way and love my Regional GDMI; the person I know the best in the Guiding Eyes community. She acts as if I’m her only client, with the personal attention and follow up she provides.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Petals gives me a sense of independence; the freedom to move about the world and do things I otherwise couldn’t do. The companionship of a guide compared to the simple physicality of a cane is wonderful. She erases the fear factor out of my life, allowing me to feel confident and independent, which is huge for me.”

Were there any training highlights? “The work at the train platform and the intelligent disobedience element was key to building trust and confidence in my new guide. The ‘traffic checks’ downtown too – she not only stopped, but backed me up, which blew me away. I learned how important my body positioning was in relation to her and how it affects the way she responds in the harness; how it enables you to communicate non-verbally and also improves the flow of our travel.”


Meet Guide Dog Petals

Petals was a very beautiful, affectionate,  smart, playful puppy who loved every person and animal she met. She especially enjoyed walks on the beach or on the trails of a nearby, wildlife refuge. She was an exceptional little traveler in the car for short and long trips. When she was just 3 months old, she attended our son’s high school graduation. The ceremony was long and we were seated in cramped quarters. She did a great job settling and afterwards greeting many people in a crowded reception. I enjoyed learning how to teach Petals commands as a first time raiser and watching her progress. I mostly enjoyed the close bond we developed from the start and watching how much joy she brought to those who met her. My time raising Petals was a privilege and so fulfilling. Thank you for the opportunity.

Debra Rose and Family, Puppy Raisers of Petals

Enjoy these photos of the team and Petals 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.