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Lisa and Kia

Meet November Home Training Graduate Lisa

Graduate Lisa and German Shepherd guide dog KiaGraduate Team: Lisa and Kia
About the Team: Kia, a female sable German Shepherd, is Lisa’s 3rd Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  Wilmington, Delaware
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Kathryn Poallo

Lisa and her guide Kia live in Wilmington, Delaware with pet German Shepherd Ruby. Kia and her new friend Ruby love being able to run around together when it’s time to play. Lisa is passionate about living a holistic lifestyle, helping others through her health and wellness online business, and enjoys connecting with people through her vision loss. Lisa also teaches online marketing for The Network Marketer. In her free time, Lisa enjoys gardening, baking sourdough from starter, and listening to music.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Kia is so very playful – I started calling her bulldozer. Kia loves to run really fast, and she and Ruby run in big circles around our back yard. Her tennis ball is definitely her toy of choice – classic German Shepherd! When I work her and do other things in the front yard, she’s more serious. She knows when and how to turn on training mode.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I thought Guiding Eyes was well outreached and had a well-rounded program and stability when I first came for a guide dog. I appreciated what the expectation was of the user and the treatment of the handler. With Kia, they stayed in contact with me about the next steps all during the waiting process, and the follow up has been great as well. They give you realistic expectations.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “When I think about the time I went without one, I realize it limited my desire to go out and travel independently. I was struggling to get out there and do things on my own. I noticed how much I missed having a guide dog because of things like objects and stairs; I don’t have to consciously think about that with a guide dog. With my cane I’m always creeping – I’m slower. With a guide dog I have more fluidity and am more excited about going out and being independent. Of course, the comfort of a guide dog from the emotional aspect is amazing too.”

Were there any training highlights? “We were really able to hone down on what I needed. It was interesting to really notice how the position of my shoulders influences Kia. During the training we worked on making decisions. There’s a section of the road where we live that is stop-go-stop-go-stop-go. I’m partially sighted, so it was nice during the training to work with Kia on which parts she should stop at. It was a real eye-opener to have the training here. It was great to be able to conform my training to my home, lifestyle, and neighborhood, where I will actually be walking around with her.”

Meet Guide Dog Kia

Raising a puppy during a pandemic was certainly filled challenges, but they were definitely delightful ones with a pup as curious, fun, and as smart as Kia! She is a sweet pup, very entertaining to watch, whether she’s playing with her Jolly Ball or investigating a new place or situation. Her strengths lie in her endless energy and curiosity and willingness to try different things. Public socialization during shutdown was difficult but Kia flourished once we were able to resume some of our outings so she could encounter others, and watch and inspect everything that was going on around her. I am so happy she’s made it to the finish line and will get the chance to explore the world and guide her new handler! It was such a pleasure raising Kia and I’m wishing Lisa and Kia many years of safe and happy teamwork together!

Barbara Ward Blank, Puppy Raisers of Kia

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