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Linda and Susie

Meet October Home Training Graduate Linda

Graduate Linda and guide dog Susie sit on a park benchGraduate Team:  Linda and Susie
About the Team:  Susie, a female yellow Lab, is Linda’s 4th Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  Sun City Center, Florida
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Stephanie Koret

Linda was employed by the University of Georgia for 21 years as a professor of Veterinary Medicine, specializing in Small Animal Dermatology. Upon her retirement in 2005, she was awarded the esteemed title of Professor Emeritus. Both Linda and her husband have vision and hearing loss, but she states with pride that they live independently, in part because of the support she has had over the years from her four guide dogs from Guiding Eyes.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Susie is very sweet! She is laid back yet loves to work.  She is friendly and well behaved. Susie is very good natured, loving and wants to please. She remains very focused despite the squirrels and other wildlife she sees on our walks.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “Prior to getting my first guide dog, I met someone with a Guiding Eyes dog.  I was totally impressed!”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “I attribute each of my guide dogs with keeping me safe and active.  I walk much more quickly and freely with my dog.  Vision and hearing loss can be very isolating conditions. People are naturally drawn to dogs; therefore, Susie helps keep me socially connected to other people.  My vision has deteriorated over time, but I feel each of my guide dogs has been better than the previous one.  After just 3 weeks, my bond with Susie is very strong!  Aside from the support I get from my dogs for my vision loss, the bond between a human and a dog has countless benefits.”

Were there any training highlights?   “Meeting Susie and realizing we are a good fit was a highlight!  My instructor Stephanie was excellent.  I have been in touch with Susie’s puppy raisers and am so grateful for the time they invested in teaching Susie what she needs to know.  I appreciate the Home Training program and the ability to work with the instructor in my neighborhood.”

Meet Guide Dog Susie

Susie brought joy to our lives as a smart, good-natured companion, always ready for an outing. Posing with one paw crossed over the other, she looked ready for afternoon tea with the queen. And she kept the family in thrall with her liberal sharing of kisses. Most of all, we enjoyed hikes together in the woods, whether that meant an afternoon in a local woodland park or a day trip to Bash Bish Falls or a week-long adventure in Maine, where she learned that canoeing was also great fun. Susie was a patient mentor to her half-sister Kathryn, serving as an experienced role model as well as a playmate, as Kathryn began to tackle new Guiding Eyes skills. Give Susie lots of hugs from us!

Hugh and Paula Wiles Sigmon, Puppy Raisers of Susie

Enjoy these photos of the team and Susie as a pup on program…