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Katelin and Wendy

Thank you to our generous January Graduates Sponsor…

In memory of my wife, Barbara Woods, who loved dogs and Guiding Eyes. Through our entire marriage, we have had dogs, usually two at a time, and enjoyed them! Sponsoring the graduating class is a perfect way to honor her memory.

– Richard Woods

Meet Graduate Katelin

Graduate Katelin and GS guide dog WendyGraduate Team: Katelin and Wendy
About the Team: Wendy, a female black & tan German Shepherd, is Katelin’s 3rd Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  Springfield, Virginia
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Jolene Hollister
January Home Training

Katelin is an audiologist who lives with her husband and retired Guiding Eyes guide dog and yellow lab, Edward. Katelin lives in Virginia and works in Washington, D.C., but will soon be moving to South Dakota where she will continue her work at the University of South Dakota. Katelin specializes in cochlear implants and often works with complicated cases, so in her role as professor at USD she will enjoy teaching her students how to provide the best care for those patients. When she is not teaching, Katelin will be working with patients, so she anticipates Wendy will enjoy napping in her office while she is in clinic. Katelin enjoys watercolor painting and reading in her free time.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Wendy has a great personality and is a great guide. During our training we did a route into D.C. to my office and even Jolene said it was like we had done that route a thousand times. Although it’s a weird route Wendy was taking it all in stride and did awesome! She’s a good girl, but she has opinions and will absolutely make them known. She really loves a ball of Edward’s. It lights up, and since I’m light sensitive she can’t have it at night, so I’ll put it behind a door until the next day. One day Wendy saw me, looked me in the eye and gave me a single bark, as if to say ‘Wow, rude.’  Edward won’t play with it, but it’s the best thing ever to her.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I did a lot of research, looking at every school I could find in the United States for about a year. Then I met two graduates in Pittsburgh, and they had great things to say about Guiding Eyes, so I applied. The experience was great, and I kept coming back because it is very familial; it’s comfortable and happy. Everyone I deal with at Guiding Eyes is wonderful. They create a very stable and healthy environment. When you get a successor dog and retire a dog, there are a lot of emotions that come with it. Guiding Eyes is always supportive. After retiring my first guide Norris, we sat and talked about how that felt. With Guiding Eyes, I have been able to call and get help when needed. All this plays into the decision to come back. I can’t imagine a world in which my next dog, (which hopefully will be a long time from now), won’t be from Guiding Eyes.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “It’s made it possible for me to do the things I want to do, like pursue my goals. I knew since I was 17 that I wanted to be an audiologist, yet everyone kept asking how I was going to do that; that it’s not a thing visually impaired people really do. After getting Norris, I left for college and what made it possible was knowing that I was safe. Knowing that if someone ran a red light my guide had my back. All I had to do was take care of him and love him. In grad school I worked with Edward and both my guides have kept me safe; I can point to specific times when I might not have been alright without them. Once Edward and I were left out on a dark tarmac at 11:30pm. I just had to pick up the handle and tell him to go to whatever you can find next. And he did – he found steps, which led to a door, which led to people.”

Were there any training highlights?  “Wendy usually deals with things really well. We had lunch in a café before a long route back and all this outdoor seating was in our view out the window. It had been snowing in D.C., so there was a flock of birds jumping around that Wendy was interested in, but she behaved. Another time, going through the metro, I walked up to the extra-wide lane for those with disabilities so we could both fit. A guy in a hurry just came barreling through and moved me out of the way. While we were all like, ‘what the heck?’, Wendy just reacted calmly.”

Meet Guide Dog Wendy

Wendy was a joy to raise, she always kept things fun and spicy! One of Wendy’s greatest strengths was her walking. She would walk as if it were a mission with great purpose, but was respectful of who was handling her. One of our more challenging outings was taking a trip to Boston for the day. Wendy showed all that she had learned while working in big crowds and stayed on task. One of my favorite outings with Wendy was definitely New York City; we spent a lot of time there. Wendy was a girl with many traits but one of my favorites was how sweet and loving she was. I wish the new team good luck and huge congratulations.

Jessica Walsh, Puppy Raiser of Wendy


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