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Linda and Edamame

Meet Graduate Linda

Linda sits on an outdoor bench with black Lab guide dog Edamame for team portraitGraduate Team:   Linda and Edamame
About the Team:   Edamame, a black female Lab, is Linda’s 8th guide dog but 1st Guiding Eyes
Location:   Orlando, Florida
Training:  November 2023 Home Training

Linda was born in Oxford, England where she was diagnosed as legally blind at birth. Her family moved to the United States when she was a child. Her father, an American citizen, and half Cherokee served 20 years in the US military. He fought in the Korean war and was an arc welder by trade.  Her mother worked as a bus monitor for disabled children. She attended public school for a year, and her remaining years were at a boarding school for disabled children. She also had a younger brother who sadly passed away 7 years ago. Linda was part of a 200 member, interdenominational singing group when she was younger, and enjoyed traveling to many states and Jamaica performing.  She went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in social work and was a switchboard operator within the library system for 19 years. Linda has spent many years giving back as a volunteer. She has done peer counseling, suicide crisis counseling, volunteered for the Heart Association, and was a CPR instructor for the Red Cross. Although dealing with health issues on a daily basis, she loves walking and listening to all kinds of music, and when she was younger, her hobbies were horseback riding and water skiing. Linda now lives in the family home with Edamame.

How would you describe your guide dog?   “In harness, Edamame loves to work and constantly looks around, staying alert to keep me safe.  She has gone to grocery and big box stores and so enjoys her work.  When not in harness, she is very lively, playful, happy, and looking for things to do.  When I’m laying down, she snuggles with me and when I’m sitting, she likes to wrap her paws around my arms, putting her head on me.  She loves her person.”   

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “Though I previously had 7 guide dogs, I knew about Guiding Eyes for a very long time.  After my last dog died, I decided to call Guiding Eyes.  Jesse called me back, talked with me, and helped me with an application.  Nikki, my field rep, [remote GDMI], came to my house and we talked.  Nikki brought Edamame to my home and trained me here.  Now I can travel faster, and I am so much more confident. I’m very grateful to Guiding Eyes.”

How has a guide dog impacted your life?  “Having Edamame has made me more active again and gets me out to do stuff that I probably wouldn’t have done on my own. Having a guide dog makes me proud and happy so I get out and do more.  I walk in the neighborhood, and it is easier.  I feel safer with her.  Edamame and I like to go out to eat with friends.  People are more likely to approach and talk with you if you have a guide dog.”

Were there any training highlights?  “Nikki and I went out for breakfast and went to Sally’s to buy some things for my hair.  We also went to Lake Eola. Edamame was so happy to see all the birds, other dogs, squirrels, ducks and some swans, and she walked on the ramps and stairs. We went to Walmart and my friend Jeannie went with us.  Edamame was so excited, and she sat in the back looking between the two front seats acting like our co-pilot. It was fun. We also did a night walk in a mall and across some roads.  I am so very, very happy to have done this home training.  I appreciate this dog and the work that Nikki and everyone has put into my having Edamame.”

Meet Guide Dog Edamame

DOB:  4/21/2021
Litter ID: 1X21
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Bettina
Stud: Elrod
Littermates:  Sumatra, Pea, Lima, Sprout, Garbanzo, Cocoa, Fava
Region:  Northern CT
Regional Puppy Instructor: Maureen Hollis
Puppy Raiser:  The Park-Arron Family
Facebook: Northern CT Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Edamame was an absolute pleasure to raise, working together, building trust and companionship. She is resilient and intelligent, and is always ready to learn more. With her active nature, she had a special spark in her eyes that showed her chosen path — a guide dog. Edamame was there to comfort our family when we lost our old companion, and played as our last dog left. It was always exciting to bring her to a store, feeling proud to be trusting her around distractions. An enjoyable activity with Edamame was teaching each other how to do teamwork. We wish Edamame a wonderful and lovely life with Linda. She is an extraordinary pup, and she is up for any challenge. We love you, Edamame, and are so proud of your hard work. Keep going! ~ Lily Arron, Puppy Raiser (5th grade) 

Photos of the Team…