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LaVerne and Pax

Meet Home Training Graduate LaVerne

Graduate Team: LaVerne and Pax
About the Team: Pax, a male black Lab, is LaVerne’s 7th guide dog
Hometown: Arvada, Colorado
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Melissa Smith

LaVerne is a native of Colorado and a supervisor with the state’s Department of Rehabilitation. When she’s not working, Laverne loves walking and reading books, particularly adventure stories and crime dramas. She also enjoys sports, especially watching Junior League baseball. She is closely involved in the lives of her nieces and nephews, who live nearby. She also has a dry sense of humor and enjoys a good joke!

How would you describe your guide dog? “He’s an excellent worker, with a vivacious and energetic personality. He’s happiest when he’s active, whether playing or working, and is very affectionate. He’s an all-round happy, fun-loving dog!”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog at Guiding Eyes?  “I found that, because of the pandemic, there were logistical complications arising with the school I had previously used. I’ve known one of the Guiding Eyes trainers for many years and decided to look into the school for my next guide dog.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “They enable me to get out and walk, which is so much more fun when you’re not alone! A guide dog brings so much in the way of freedom to travel, both quickly and safely.”

Were there any training highlights?  “It was awesome! Despite the current circumstances around the pandemic, we were still able to train in the places I will go to once it’s over. I particularly enjoyed working on patterning with him. We have very narrow sidewalks in my area, so ahead of harness training, the instructor took him out on leash to acclimate him to them, as well as obstacles he will encounter. That worked really well.”

Meet Guide Dog Pax

Guide PaxPax was a great companion.  If you earned his trust, the bond was very special.  He was vigilant in his awareness of me; what I was doing, how I was feeling.  He was willing and eager to work together as a team and went to work with me every day.  Pax was so in tune with me, he would balk outside a particular office and look at me as if to say, “are you sure you want to go in there?”  When backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, Pax was great. He carried his own food and seemed to enjoy himself.  At bedtime he had his own sleeping pad, but wouldn’t settle for anything less than being warm in the sleeping bag next to me. One of our most enjoyable outings was going to local breweries and he was always a big hit.  During one outing he even secured a speaking engagement for me to talk about GEB to the local Rotary Club. The strength of the bond that Pax and I formed was amazing.  It is such a pure feeling of joy to relate to another creature on such an honest and trusting level.

Jim Harmeson, Puppy Raiser of Pax

Enjoy these photos of the team and Pax 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.