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Lanie and Expo

Thank you to our generous August 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 Home Training Graduate Lanie

Graduate Lanie and guide dog ExpoGraduate Team:  Lanie and Expo
About the Team:  Expo, a male German Shepherd, is Lanie’s 2nd guide dog
Hometown:  Louisville, Kentucky
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Jolene Hollister

Lanie works in the family business started by her dad and uncles, a relocation services company that assists with corporate housing. Despite the challenges presented by Cerebral Palsy, Lanie enjoys a considerable amount of walking. She appreciates that the fast and steady pace of her new guide dog, Expo, actually helps her maintain her balance. Now and then when there is an opportunity for a lazy day, Lanie enjoys using her PlayStation 4 gaming console while Expo never tires of chasing after tennis balls shot by Lanie from a ball gun. 

How would you describe your guide dog? “Expo is very gentle and good about checking up on me. I could tell right away he is very intuitive; if I have a bad day where I feel anxious or depressed, he seems to know it and helps me. He Is very affectionate; I refer to him as a cat in a dog’s body because he likes to rub up against me. Sometimes as I stand up, I need to steady myself by putting my hand on his back, and he stands there patiently as I do that.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I loved my first guide dog who came from another school, but the overall experience wasn’t the best. My friends have guide dogs from Guiding Eyes, and I could see they were well trained.  They told me the trainers are great and the school takes the time to make the right match, but if there are any problems, they are right there for you. I wanted that experience. When I applied it was such a huge relief when they said they were willing to train the dog on the right side for me, instead of the left. They listened to me and took my needs into consideration.” 

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I feel like I’ve been given a second chance. I’m very grateful that Expo gave me my life back. I have a lot less anxiety; it’s been life changing. My vision is limited, but I am able to trust his judgement and be independent. He impacted my life by giving me my freedom back. I finally feel free.”

Were there any training highlights? “I really enjoyed the training program and the support from Jolene. What Expo and I have now, took a very long time to figure out with my first guide. She said we appeared like we’d been together for years. The day we took a trip downtown to the waterfront on the Ohio River, I could feel everything coming together for Expo and me. He really shined. I hadn’t been there for a couple years because I wasn’t confident in that area anymore. At one point I relaxed against a railing looking down into the river and he sat there waiting. Later in the day we were coming back through, and he took me to that very spot. He remembered.”

Meet Guide Dog Expo

I raised 3 labs for GEB but always wanted a German Shepherd. Expo began as a sensitive little guy who always got car sick and was overwhelmed by this big busy world. But he was wicked smart, a fast learner and tried hard to do the right thing. He matured into a confident and eager partner who did everything I asked. Training walks with Expo were smooth and graceful. We enjoyed hikes, trail runs, swims and tug o’ wars. His favorite toy was his Chuck-It and he could fetch all day. He was sweet, affectionate, talkative with his “shepherd noises” and dramatic with his head tilts. Every morning he would lean in to demand hugs, butt scratches and belly rubs. He loved snuggling and gently playing with my cat Betty. Every night Expo would put himself to bed in his crate. I brought this furry, pointy-eared chaperone with me on a first date with my now-wife. He helped us fall in love and become a family. Our shepherd is a very good boy and we miss him every day. We are so proud of Team Expo and look forward to following your adventures together!

John and Lindsay Goldsmith, Puppy Raisers of Expo

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