Meet Graduate Lauren
July On-Campus Training
Graduate Team: Lauren and Austin
About the Team: Austin, a male yellow Lab, is Lauren’s 1st guide dog
Hometown: St. Louis Park, Minnesota
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Chelsea Gerhan
Lauren lives in St. Louis Park, Minnesota with her husband Mike, their 7-year-old Lucas, their shih-tzu Dexter, and four Guinea pigs named Mocha, Midnight, Mollie, and Mu. Lauren currently works as a Vision Rehabilitation Program Manager at Vision Loss Resources in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. In her free time, Lauren enjoys listening to music, reading books, building Legos with Lucas, long walks along Minnesota lakes, cross-country skiing and socializing with friends and family.
How would you describe your guide dog? “Austin is a kind gentle yellow Lab. He loves to lick my chin after we’ve had a good route. Austin is also a powerful chewer; he loves to chew on his Nylabone. Austin’s favorite playful activity is to walk under your legs and circle around to go under again. It’s hilarious! At the end of a long day, Austin loves to snuggle up and take a quick nap right next to you.
What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “It was recommended by a few of my friends and some of my fellow employees at Vision Loss Resources, that I should go to Guiding Eyes for the Blind for a guide dog.”
How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “As many of my friends and family know, I am a fast walker. However, I suffered a minor shoulder injury after I fell due to a crack in the pavement. I really love that I am able to walk at my own pace again without worry, and I enjoy the companionship I have with Austin.”
Were there any training highlights? “The training I received at Guiding Eyes was outstanding. I have highlights to share from every single day. My trainer, Chelsea, was so great with Austin and I as we learned to navigate the world together.
Meet Guide Dog Austin
Litter ID: 8A419
Littermates: Almond, Astro, Anya, Adele, Andrew, Alden, Armstrong
Region: Dutchess NY, Fingerlakes
Regional Manager: Elizabeth Vacchiano, Cassie Houghton
Puppy Raiser: The Courtney Family, David Anderson, The Doubet Family
Facebook: Dutchess Puppy Raisers
Facebook: Fingerlakes Puppy Raisers
The first thing we noticed about Austin was how human his eyes were. Those golden eyes looked straight into your soul, in the best way possible. Austin is such a smart and hard-working boy who just loves being around people and playing with other dogs. The first thing he would do when someone got home was grab a toy, normally one that he had somehow managed to chew to the sharpest point, and paw at you until you noticed him. He is a lover through and through and we loved getting to know him over the months that we were lucky enough to be his raisers. We are so proud of how well he has done and can’t wait for more updates on his new life.
Shannon Doubet, Puppy Raiser
Photos of the team: