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Kayla and Cayenne

Meet Graduate Kayla

Kayla and black lab guide dog Cayenne sit head to head for team portraitGraduate Team:  Kayla and Cayenne
About the Team:  Cayenne, a female black Lab, is Kayla’s 5th guide dog
Location:  Scottsdale, Arizona
Training: September 2023 On-Campus 

Kayla got her first guide dog when she was 17 years old and is a seasoned handler. She grew up in Montana and attended California Lutheran University. She completed her undergraduate studies there and continued for a master’s degree in counseling and psychology, concentrating on marriage & family. In addition to her counseling practice, Kayla and her husband are busy parents to their 2 young sons. When she was 16 years old, Kayla started a business translating restaurant menus into Braille. She continues to offer those services through the business today. Kayla and her family recently relocated from Montana to Arizona and are enjoying the warmer temperatures.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Cayenne knows I’m her person and she devotes her attention to me. Cayenne loves to work and is always ready for our next adventure.  She is also super friendly and loves people!  I recently volunteered in my son’s pre-school class. The students were very respectful of Cayenne while she was working. I rewarded the students (and Cayenne) for their good behavior by letting her out of her harness so they could pet and play with her. The kids loved her, and she loved them, as well as all the affection they gave her. Cayenne exemplifies a very sweet, kind, and gentle dog.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “After my second guide dog retired, I had very young children.  Guiding Eyes offers At-Home training which appealed to me at a time when I could not easily be away from home for several weeks.  However, when I got Cayenne, I was able to travel to Guiding Eyes and train on campus. ” 

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “After so many years, I still find the impact of a guide dog difficult to explain. I got my first guide dog when I was 17 and have been a handler for 19 years. My previous guide dogs were with me during college, graduate school and when my sons were little. A guide dog for me is empowering!  I have freedom, independence, and autonomy.  My dogs have been my partners and my friends.  They develop a larger-than-life presence. I believe a guide dog makes me more approachable and bridges a gap between a people whether sighted or blind.  No one asks about my cane, but people love to learn about my dog and tell me about their dogs. A guide dog helps to ‘normalize’ blindness. It is as if a silent language exists, and everyone speaks dog!”

Were there any training highlights? “Even after several guide dogs, the first walk with each is always very memorable and special. I love how quickly and easily Cayenne and I walk together. Guiding Eyes works hard to find the dog that best fits into your life.  A highlight was meeting and interacting with so many of the Guiding Eyes staff and instructors.  Everyone, regardless of their role, did all they could to be welcoming and make me feel at home. I enjoyed speaking with Cayenne’s puppy raisers. It was clear Cayenne was raised in a home filled with love.  Her raisers said she had been an angel for them, and they hoped she would be for me as well. I am very grateful for the work of so many people that made Cayenne the wonderful guide she is.” 

Meet Guide Dog Cayenne

DOB:  12/12/2020
Litter ID: 8C320
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Adrienne
Stud: Dover
Littermates: Chris, Charlene, Chaz, Caitlyn, Carson, Chevy, Catalina
Region:  Cleveland East
Regional Puppy Instructor: Macy Nauman
Puppy Raiser:  Maya & Archana Nayar
Facebook: Ohio Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Cayenne is a spunky black Labrador with a splash of spice! With her big honey eyes and shiny coat, she’s a bundle of beauty and joy. This lively pup is on her way to becoming a guide dog, and she loved every bit of her training adventures—from puppy classes to outings at the mall! Cayenne has a knack for rolling in mud and running like the wind, especially with a coveted toy. And let’s not forget her impromptu singing duets with my daughter playing her clarinet—totally a hit! Having her since she was 8 weeks old has been a blast, and we’re super grateful for all the fun and lessons she’s brought into our lives. We’re cheering for her on her guide dog journey, and she’ll always be a cherished member of our pack!  ~Archana & Maya Nayar, Puppy Raisers

Photos of the Team…