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Kimberly and Kiwi

Meet Graduate Kimberly


Kimberly dressed in black and white sits with her back to a piano with Kiwi

Graduate Team:  Kimberly and Kiwi
About the Team:  Kiwi, a female black Lab, is Kimberly’s 5th guide from Guiding Eyes
Hometown:  Overland Park, Kansas
Training: October 2022 Home Training  

Kimberly resides in the metropolitan Kansas City area. She earned her undergraduate degree from Baker University, a small liberal arts college in Baldwin City, KS. At Baker she majored in both German and Spanish. She continued her education at the University of Kansas, earning a master’s degree in German and a doctorate focusing on educational policy and leadership. Kimberly worked for a variety of non-profit organizations for 22 years and in 2018 started her own business as a Library of Congress Certified Braille Proofreader and Foreign Language translator. Kimberly enjoys many hobbies including playing piano, a variety of folk instruments and singing. She also does creative writing, knits in a knitter’s guild and recently began playing chess with the U.S. Blind Chess Association.  Kimberly joined the Guiding Eyes family when she received her first guide dog, Nadine, in 1991. 

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Kiwi is a phenomenal guide! She loves to work and wants to do a good job. She has a great attitude, and she and my retired guide, Marley, get along well too.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “In college I was an American Council of the Blind scholarship winner. While attending the ACB conference in Denver I roomed with another scholarship winner that had a guide dog from Guiding Eyes. Although I was a skilled cane user, I was so impressed by the pace and accuracy at which my new friend could travel and the ease with which her dog followed commands. Guiding Eyes had a hospitality table at the event, and I was able to learn about the organization and the benefits of a guide dog. The following year I attended the ACB conference with my first Guiding Eyes dog, Nadine!”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “My guide dogs have impacted my life in so many ways! I am more confident and independent, and others perceive me as such. I believe a guide dog makes a blind person appear more credible amongst the sighted public and offers the blind person an enhanced level of dignity. My guides have given me tremendous companionship, on a level that a pet never could. A guide dog’s communication and behavior are of great intelligence, ultimately making them an extension of myself.”

Were there any training highlights? “Every day with Kiwi is a highlight!  Since I now work from home, I opted for Home Training.  Although I missed the social aspect of training at the Guiding Eyes campus, working together in my home environment really accelerated Kiwi’s performance and our teamwork.  Our trainer Melissa Smith and I clicked immediately.  She was organized, patient and always had a plan. Together we accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. Each day working with Kiwi brought new experiences and insights.”

Meet Guide Dog Kiwi

DOB:  5/12/2020
Litter ID: 5KK20
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Female
Brood: Jenna
Stud: Tito
Littermates: Toby, Kirby, Karma, Kurt, Koala, Kermit
Region:  Bay
Regional Puppy Instructor: Cindy Tait
Puppy Raiser: Tessa Yu
Facebook: Bay Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

I started raising Kiwi at the height of the pandemic and, through the two years that I had her, she was my ray of sunshine. At her core, Kiwi was a people pleaser. She always wanted to do the right thing and injected joy into everything that she did, whether it was going on an outing, heading to puppy class, or just hanging out at home. You could spot her hilarious bouncy energy from a mile away and she never failed to put a smile on my face. I’m endlessly proud of her, and grateful to have had the opportunity to aid in her journey towards becoming a guide dog. I know she will continue to spread her happiness wherever she goes. ~ Tessa Yu, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…