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Kate & Eagle

Meet Home Training Graduate Katherine

In a grassy area, Kate sits in an outdoor chair wearing a blue mask, while beside her the handsome Eagle, looks seriously towards the cameraGraduate Team: Katherine and Eagle
About the Team: Eagle, a male black & tan German Shepherd, is Kate’s 3rd Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  New York, New York
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Jolene Hollister

Kate has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is currently a graduate student studying Human Resources Management. She loves city life and enjoys exploring the outdoors from the back of a tandem bike.  She has competed in several triathlons, including an international race in New Zealand. Other hobbies include reading and cooking, especially the fish she catches herself, as she’s been known to escape the city in pursuit of porgies and striped bass. Kate shares that each guide dog she has been paired with has supported a new chapter in her life. Her first dog Bambi guided her through college. Her second guide Phil joined her when she got her first job out of school and led the way on many trips in the U.S. and Europe. Now, Eagle is her trusted companion as she pursues graduate school and a new phase in her career. 

How would you describe your guide dog?  “He loves working in the city almost as much as I do. When we’re in active areas, he picks up on the energy surrounding us and becomes super focused on his job.  I can feel his mind working quickly to find the safest path around all of the obstacles, whether it’s construction, distracted pedestrians, bikes whizzing by or other dogs. Out of harness he is very sweet, loves people and playing his favorite game of fetch with a tennis ball. He’s better at retrieving than both of my previous Labrador Retrievers, which I find hilarious.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?   “All of my guide dogs from Guiding Eyes have been exceptional. As a New Yorker, I was looking for a dog who would thrive in this tough environment. I expect a lot from my dogs; I needed one with the rock solid confidence to take on crowded streets, crazy NYC traffic, and loud subways. Guiding Eyes specifically identifies dogs that would be suitable for city life, and train with them in Manhattan. The first time Eagle and I walked past a subway station, he targeted it right away. That’s what I love about Guiding Eyes; they anticipate the needs of their clients, make superb matches, and give the handler the freedom to decide which aspects of training to focus on based on their lifestyle.  The trainers are always very helpful, and I know I can count on them if I ever encounter an issue.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “Having a guide dog has helped me tremendously with independent travel. I’m able to walk at my quick natural pace without worrying about obstacles in my way. More often than not, Eagle and I are the fastest pedestrians on the sidewalk. I feel confident navigating around subway stations, airports, and foreign cities with a guide dog by my side. There is also a social benefit, as having a dog with you is a natural icebreaker. People are more likely to start a conversation, connecting with you over the common love of dogs at first, and then the discussion branches out to other topics.”

Were there any training highlights?  “Navigating Times Square would be the perfect final exam, but this year it’s uncharacteristically quiet due to the pandemic, so I came up with an alternate plan. Chinatown is overstimulating for many people, let alone a dog, so it was the perfect place to train. I was so impressed with how Eagle weaved around pedestrians on the narrow sidewalks, walked past fragrant fish markets, and didn’t seem to mind all of the noise around him while we completed our route. He passed the test beautifully.”

Meet Guide Dog Eagle

Eagle sits in front of plantings, as he poses in his Uniflyharness

The phrase “it takes a village to raise a pup”, was true for Eagle. He had many opportunities to train with new and repeat raisers, having various volunteers walk and work with him on outings.  He was a very social pup, loving every new person he met. Eagle spent much of his time traveling through downtown Annapolis; going into work with me every day and even spending time and going to work with his bestie “Paige”.  Eagle taught me as much as I taught him.  He was a smart, confident boy, ready to take on any challenge.  He was somewhat of an engineer; not afraid to explore and figure out how things worked.  Don’t let his all business side fool you – he has a fun, crazy side, too.  He didn’t mind dressing up and rocking a pair of sunglasses, or even a crazy elf hat in the Military Bowl Parade.  He loved going to the Zoo, because it was a place he could crawl into a turtle shell or climb into a birds nest, and help the animals learn about dogs.  He loved to swim and play fetch.  Eagle soars in everything he does.  May Katherine and Eagle “Soar like an Eagle” together.

Cindy Tait, Puppy Raiser of Eagle

Enjoy these photos of the team and Eagle 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.