Graduate Team – Lauren and Blanco
Thank you to our generous April Graduate 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.
Meet April Residential Training Graduate Lauren
Lauren recently returned to Guiding Eyes for her second guide dog, Blanco. Lauren is a massage therapist who lives next to a lake in a rural town. She and Blanco walk the 10 minutes from home to her work, smelling the crisp air and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Lauren and Blanco appreciate their walks by the lake together, where she also enjoys tandem kayaking with her parents and Blanco.
How would you describe your guide dog? “Blanco is a big dog with a lovely persona, and he is a beautiful complement to me. I’m never alone. Walking with him is a great experience. He loves being in harness and he helps me with my balance. Out of harness, Blanco is playful. He enjoys bringing me squeaky toys for us to play with. He loves it when I massage him. Being together is working out beautifully.”
What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “A good friend and mentor told me about Guiding Eyes. I came here and got my first guide, Kaylin, and I loved working with her. At Guiding Eyes’ campus in April, I got my new guide, Blanco, and my class shared in very helpful training classes and city experiences with other students, like Stephanie. It was great.”
How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I am big on tactile information and with Blanco, my confidence level is greater. It really grew. A cane shows you where you are. I wanted my world to get bigger. I wanted to branch out – to be able to go out to eat. I did that. I was able to put Blanco under the table with a sit-down-stay, and I could relax knowing that he was secure and safe near me.”
Were there any training highlights? “The trainers, Michelle and Judith were wonderful. I learned to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Training sessions were very good. For recreation, we went to the English store in White Plains to have teatime with English Tea, biscuits, and crumpets. We also went to the movie theater where I did a sit-down command so Blanco was lying at my feet. The movie was fabulous, and we had descriptive narrative through our headphones. My experiences at Guiding Eyes have made for an easy transition for me. This is a life changing time. I’m OK. I’m good.”
Meet Guide Dog Blanco
- DOB: 7/11/2019
- Tattoo ID: 8B319
- Color/Breed: Yellow Labrador
- Gender: Male
- Brood: Leah
- Stud: Zinc
- Littermates: Bud, Babs, Buffy, Brio, Brutus, Bridgette, Breeze, Bo, Bradley
- Region: Shenandoah
- Regional Manager: Leslie Stephens
- Puppy Raiser: The Smith Family
- Facebook: Guiding Eyes Shenandoah Puppy Raisers
Enjoy these photos of the team and Blanco as a pup on program…
Meet our other recent guide dog team graduates. Click here!
Friends and Family: Watch this video to learn more about Working with a Guide Dog Team.