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Lauryn & Malone

Thank you to our generous November Graduate Teams Sponsor…

In Memory of Donna Brill, a life long dog lover, who especially adored all the Labrador Retrievers in her life.  Donna and her husband Jim spent many years breeding and training happy and loving Labradors. We know Mom would be so proud of all the devotion and loving care these guide dogs will provide.  Thanks to the work at Guiding Eyes, these dogs will be faithful companions like Donna’s faithful dog of 16 years, Allie, who was with her through her final days.

Donna’s daughters, Angela Brill, Laurie Lamp and Kathy Dahm

Meet Home Training Graduate Lauryn

Lauryn sits on a cement wall with guide Malone at her feetGraduate Team: Lauryn and Malone
About the Team: Malone, a male black Lab, is Lauryn’s 1st Guiding Eyes dog
Gillette, Wyoming
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Melissa Smith

Lauryn has always been a studious person, which helped her earn the honor of valedictorian of her high school class. In addition to her academic pursuits, she was on the track team during much of her high school career.  Lauryn chose to pursue her first guide dog after entering college, where she is busy working towards a degree in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. Her focus is Pre-Med, as she hopes to one day become a psychiatrist. This interest was sparked by seeing so many in her area struggle with mental health. She hopes one day to provide guidance to those in these difficult circumstances. Since their training, Lauryn and Malone have spent the past few weeks getting to know each other and working together as a team. Lauryn is really looking forward to bringing Malone back to school with her next semester, when they will begin their college journey together!

How would you describe your guide dog? “He’s the sweetest little boy; he always has to know where I am. If I leave the room, Malone is sitting there waiting at the door for me to return. I left my house for a short time, and my parents said he was walking around looking for me while I was gone. He couldn’t stop wagging his tail when I got back!”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I was on the track team in high school, and there was one day in particular that I really had a hard time navigating without a sighted guide. I think that sparked the decision to get a guide dog, and it felt like my college years would be the right time for me to do that.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I’m already feeling more independent. It felt awesome to walk around the supermarket on my own and not have to depend on anyone else. I’m gaining independence, but I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’m so excited to head back to my college, because the town is so walkable; we can really just go anywhere. We visited there this past weekend and Malone had so much fun!”

Were there any training highlights? “The first night Malone arrived, we just focused on being with each other and didn’t do any work. My family went out, so it was only Malone and I at home. We just laid down on the floor together. He laid down right on top of me and I could tell we had already bonded.”

Meet Guide Dog Malone

Guide dog MaloneMalone was such an amazing puppy to raise as my first! He was always such a quick learner and it was obvious how much he enjoyed working and training. He is an incredibly loving and friendly guy; one of our biggest puppy challenges was greeting people calmly, because he was always so happy and excited to be around new people! I’m so proud of what he and his trainers have accomplished, and I feel very lucky to have been his raiser. He will forever hold a big spot in my heart. It’s amazing to see the impact Malone has had on everyone around him and I’m sure he and his partner will do great things together.

Ally Schmitt,  Puppy Raiser of Malone

I started co-raising Malone when he was 9 months old, but I sat him every week when he was a puppy. I fell in love with him immediately, so when Ally needed some help, I was so excited to co-raise. He was the best, most goofy, loving boy. I always knew he was meant to be a guide dog for someone, because he was so hard working and attentive. He also taught my current pup on program, Judy, so much! Everyone I introduced him to adored him. He could not have gone to a better handler; I cannot wait to hear what they accomplish together. I’m so proud of everything he’s done, and am incredibly pleased to know that he’s with the perfect girl who will love him forever.

Amber Paparodis, Puppy Raiser of Malone

Enjoy these photos of the team and Malone 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.