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Laurie and Fay

Meet Graduate Laurie

Laurie and black lab guide dog Fay sit together for their team portraitGraduate Team: Laurie and Fay
About the Team: Fay, a female black Lab, is Laurie’s 1st Guiding Eyes dog
Location: Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
Training: January 2024 On-Campus

Laurie has been a guide dog handler for over forty years, but Fay is her first guide from Guiding Eyes. She has held multiple part-time jobs in the administrative sector and has business certification but is now enjoying her retirement and an active social life. Laurie’s a member of two local social groups for visually impaired individuals and enjoys gathering for a meal and conversation at a member’s home, or meeting at local coffeeshops, sometimes to hear a speaker. Once the Ontario winter has eased up a bit, Laurie and Fay plan on attending weekly meetups with a walking group, as well. Laurie remains a member of Guide Dog Users of Canada and The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, although not as actively as she once was. Laurie loves to spend time with family, which includes her three grown children and her grandchildren. She’s an audiobook listener and enjoys historical fiction and the occasional mystery novel.

How would you describe your guide dog? “She’s got a lot of personality with a mind of her own. She’ll move me over when we’re working if I’m having a strong left tendency. Fay knows her job and does it well, and she learns quickly. She’s a happy dog; she wags her tail when she’s walking and it’s up like a flag.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I’ve been a guide dog handler since 1981, and applied to various schools this time, because the waiting lists everywhere are long. Over the years, I’ve seen good dogs from all the organizations that I applied to, but Guiding Eyes came through with a dog first, so I decided to go with them.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “Before I got my first guide dog, some of my friends were getting guide dogs from various organizations and I saw the independence they got. I wanted that too, so that was the beginning of my independence journey. I had a couple of kids by that time, and I wanted to get out more. Once I got my guide dog, I went back to school to finish my degree and got out into the community more. It’s a lifestyle choice.”

Were there any training highlights? “I liked the fact that I was taken seriously. If I had any concerns, they were addressed quickly. The training was individualized, so they focused on fixing my ‘mistakes’, because if you’ve used guide dogs before, you may have developed bad habits. It was good training and I felt welcomed by Guiding Eyes, as did all of us in our class.”

Meet Guide Dog Fay

DOB:  12/22/2020
Litter ID: 6F320
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Female
Brood: Mercy
Stud: Dasher
Littermates: Fairlee, Forest, Florie, Flower, Fanta, Fulton
Region:  Southern CT
Regional Puppy Instructor: Maureen Hollis
Puppy Raiser:  Lauren Doninger
Facebook: Southern Connecticut Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Fay was an exuberant puppy who was always ready for a new adventure. Her favorite outings included mud puddles or low tide. During much of Fay’s puppyhood she had two modes – quick-learning pup on program or queen of mischief. Fay was a build-up, activated puppy. One of the things that I needed to learn about Fay was to end activities early and be sure that she went right into the crate for some quiet time. One of Fay’s cutest habits was how she put herself to bed at 8:30 each night. If the crate door wasn’t open, she would get it open. When this girl is done for the day – she is done. I wish great success to Fay and her handler! ~ Lauren Doniger

Photos of the Team…