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Kathleen and Greeley

Meet Graduate Kathleen

Kathleen and black Lab Greeley sit relaxed on floor for team photoGraduate Team: Kathleen and Greeley
About the Team: Greeley, a female black Lab, is Kat’s 4th guide dog – 1st Guiding Eyes dog
Location: Bellingham, Washington
Training: February 2023 On-Campus Training

Kathleen was born and raised in Oregon and currently resides in Washington State, not far from the Canadian border. Kat has been totally blind since early childhood and devoted much of her professional life supporting the blind community. She attended Portland State University, earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. Kat has taught blind and low vision clients assistive technologies and braille, and is currently employed by Western Washington University, where for the past three years she has been working as a Disability Access Manager. When time permits, she enjoys hiking, and in the past enjoyed canoeing and tandem cycling. She is a long-time guide dog user and had three guide dogs prior to Greeley, her first Lab and Guiding Eyes dog.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Greeley is so sweet, playful, driven, and really loves her work. She is my first Labrador Retriever, as I only had Golden Retrievers previously. She is very passionate when she is working or playing. In either mode she is very focused and puts her whole heart to the task at hand.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “One of my best friends applied and received a guide dog from Guiding Eyes. She spoke very highly of her training experience, and how accommodating Guiding Eyes was. It turns out she was absolutely correct based on my own recent experience.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Oh, my goodness, I am more confident and much happier traveling. Greeley has gotten me outside more. If I wake up in the morning and feel a little sad, Greeley brightens my day, every day, with Lab kisses and her wagging tail.”

Were there any training highlights? “I enjoyed the individualized attention provided by the staff, including being given time to focus on specific concerns regarding receiving a new guide dog. Also, the staff recognized the skills I would need to develop in order to best handle Greeley. Having only four students enabled each of us to receive ample attention. My primary instructor, Kat, was very laid back, genuine, respectful, and fun. The training turned out to be enjoyable and relaxing. The entire staff contributed to the camaraderie our group experienced. I have some anxiety when traveling distances, but the staff picked me up at JFK Airport, which enabled me to be more relaxed upon arrival. I actually enjoyed the training in New York City, which turned out to be pretty exciting. We walked more than fifty blocks, which helped me feel in better control of my environment. I also want to share that the food served on campus was great and the chef made special dairy free meals to accommodate my needs.”

Meet Guide Dog Greeley

DOB:  12/27/2020
Litter ID: 10G320
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Female
Brood: Gibby
Stud: Vance
Littermates: Giblet, Gamma, Gus, Gwenny, Ginko, Graham
Region:  Eastern CT
Regional Puppy Instructor: Maureen Hollis
Puppy Raiser:  Carlisle Wildeman
Facebook: Central CT Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Greeley was a leaper and a non-barker. There were times when I didn’t know where she was, she was so quiet. Then, I’d call her name and she would bound into the room, ready for what’s next. She never stopped bouncing, but at least it wasn’t ON me. We took some amazing walks in the woods. As a puppy, she investigated everything, mostly by taste. We had a lot of practice with “out.” But as time went on, she settled down and stayed mostly on the path. She is the only dog I’ve ever raised who could figure out how to undo the long line when she got it wrapped around a tree. Scary smart. Enjoy her. She is love personified. ~ Carlisle Wildeman

Photos of the Team…