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
Keanu is a student at Dutchess Community College, participating in “Think Ahead”, a program developed to assist individuals with disabilities in developing job and life skills, while enjoying a college experience. When it comes to hobbies, Keanu proudly describes himself as a “Lego Guy”. This Lego enthusiast has been creating his own Lego City for the past few years, complete with buildings, parks, vehicles and other details made possible by skill, patience, creativity, and an enormous amount of building bricks. Overall, his most favorite activity is hanging out with his loving family, which includes his mother, father, older sister, and now a black Lab named Tilly.
How would you describe your guide dog? “She’s a good dog. She behaves well and she’s very loving towards me and my family. She protects me every day as I navigate around my home and the campus. When she is in harness, she is happy it’s time to go to work, but she’s always very glad to be back home after a long day on campus. She’s a very calm girl, but when the vest comes off, the work is done, and she is energized for playtime.”
What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I am losing my vision more each year and it is hard to see, so I knew that to get a guide dog would be very helpful to me. It’s been good having Tilly and taking care of her every single day. We found out about the school when my dad saw instructors training dogs here in Pawling.”
How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Having Tilly around me has really helped me a lot and will be helpful in the years ahead, after I finish the Think Ahead program. She helps me to be very independent when I’m not with my parents. I take paratransit from home to college, and Tilly helps me get to the bus stops. It’s a good commute with Tilly and being able to have that independence.”
Were there any training highlights? “I was really glad that Tilly understands my communication and commands well. Miranda was a great instructor when I was in class as a resident and she also came to my house for a home session. We will stay in touch because she lives very close to me. I was very happy that in my first couple of weeks at Dutchess Community College, Ben came to the campus to educate my Think Ahead classmates about guide dogs.”
Special Recognition: Tilly’s training was sponsored by Robin L. Gordon
Tilly’s greatest strength is her ability to light up a room. She has this lovable and goofy personality that makes everyone she meets fall in love with her. Tilly was an amazing college girl who was able to walk through large groups of students and then also settle through three hour lectures like an professional from an early age. My one of my most enjoyable times with Tilly were the agility classes we did together. She and I grew as a team and had a blast learning skills neither of us knew! Tilly loved to learn and play and at the end of the day all she would want to do was cuddle. I wish Tilly and her graduate the best of luck and a long working life. I hope she makes you laugh and smile as much as she did for me.
Megan Chapin, Puppy Raiser of Tilly