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Larriece and Oliver

Meet Graduate Larriece

Larriece sits with yellow lab guide dog Oliver for team portraitGraduate Team:  Larriece and Oliver
About the Team:  Oliver, a male yellow Lab, is Larriece’s 2nd guide dog (her 1st Guiding Eyes dog)
Location:  San Rafael, California
Training: July 2023 Home Training

Larriece describes herself as brave and it is evident in her adventurous lifestyle. She grew up in southern California, and after graduating high school in 1968 she enlisted in the United States Air Force. Larriece spent 3 years across the country in Massachusetts on an air force base and received training skills as a graphic artist while serving in the military. Her 3 years of military service prepared her for a lifetime of challenges and changes. Larriece worked in banks, an insurance company and retail after realizing the corporate world was not for her. In 1989, Larriece became a massage therapist, and her passion became a new career. Larriece has traveled extensively in Europe, including as a member of a singing group performing in a variety of cities and retirement facilities. Larriece’s vision loss became severe in the early 2000s, but with trips through Mind’s Eye Travel, a unique service for blind travelers, she has continued her adventures around the world. She has enjoyed recent trips to Cambodia, Vietnam, and Africa. Her travels in the United States have included Maine, Wyoming, and even white-water rafting in the Grand Canyon. She also enjoyed kayaking in Baha Mexico and local bays. Larriece is retired now and “living life in the moment”.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Oliver is smart, loveable, and very attentive.  He learns quickly, is a good listener and wants to please.  He’s a big dog at 72 pounds, but he is very gentle. I got him a stuffed bear that he carries around as though it’s a baby. We are very connected and understand each other. Oliver can also be silly and makes me laugh!”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I know several happy graduates of Guiding Eyes who encouraged me to apply.  Although I’m a native Californian, my mother was born in the Bronx,  in NY.  Between Guiding Eyes being highly recommended, and my family’s connection to New York, my gut instinct told me to apply to Guiding Eyes and I am so glad I did!” 

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “I got my first guide dog in 2009. I am much more confident and feel safer with a guide dog. I am tremendously more independent. I get out more and go further! A significant secondary benefit of a guide dog is their unconditional love. The dog’s presence and companionship provide such emotional support.”

Were there any training highlights? “It was all a highlight! Due to my schedule and needs, I did some of my training at the Guiding Eyes campus and some at home in California. I cannot say enough about the school. The trainers treated me with such respect, and I felt in my heart that they wanted me to be successful.  Guiding Eyes recognizes each student as an individual with their own personality and needs. Melissa was my trainer in California. She took the time to educate me about a guide dog and how they think and operate.  This broader understanding really reinforced the training and got Oliver and I off to a great start.”

Meet Guide Dog Oliver

DOB:  5/12/2021
Litter ID: 5O21
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Male
Brood: Capri
Stud: Octane
Littermates: Otis, Orla, O’Neil, Oahu
Region: Central CT
Regional Puppy Instructor: Maureen Hollis
Puppy Raiser:  Michele Haas
Facebook: Central CT Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Oliver was an amazing dog to raise. He made our first experience as Guiding Eyes raisers so enjoyable. He loves to snuggle and play with our other dogs, (although they didn’t always want to participate) . He brought so much love and laughter into our lives. His journey is just beginning….  ~Ed and Michele Hass, Puppy Raising

Photos of the Team…