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Lois and Elise

Thank you to our generous May Graduates Sponsor…

“The University of Rhode Island Puppy Raisers Club wishes the graduate teams good luck in their new partnerships!”

Meet Home Training Graduate Lois

Graduate Lois sits on an outdoor bench among plantings with guide EliseGraduate Team: Lois and Elise
About the Team: Elise, a female yellow Lab, is Lois’s first guide dog
Hometown: Hilton Head, South Carolina
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Dave Hagemann

Lois is an active, semi-retired intensive care and trauma nurse, who is full of life. She started training to become an independent massage therapist after a diagnosis of macular degeneration in her forties. Thirty years later she continues to practice massage therapy and utilize her nursing skills to this day. She loves swimming and beach activities, walking, working in her yard and socializing with friends.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Elise is wonderful! She is beautiful – perfect. When we first met it was just an instant connection; we were both so excited and happy. She’s very attentive and affectionate, following me absolutely everywhere. She likes men and gets all excited when we have male visitors. She loves children – loves everybody. She loves swimming and playing with the ball in in the pool. On her first visit to the beach, she took me into the ocean and went crazy. She loves traveling, whether by car or plane, and worked like a pro from day one.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog at Guiding Eyes? “I applied to a number of schools, but felt Guiding Eyes was more efficient. The process seemed to be more expeditious, despite the pandemic striking soon after I applied. Communication was good from day one. I felt that the staff at Guiding Eyes was responsive, informed and informative, which gave me a sense of how and why things would, (and did), happen.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Elise provides a reason to get up and get the day started. She’s so sweet, loves to work and is anxious to get going with the day. She’s so intensive in what she’s doing. We play obedience games in the evening, which she loves. Elise is always such a lady and behaves herself so well in public. She’s brought joy to my life; she’s my companion and helps me so much by keeping me safer. I’ve become more aware of the need for street traffic lights to be made into talking crossings, with chirping buttons and reflectors, so it’s easier for guide dogs to target. She makes me proud of having her as my guide dog.”

Were there any training highlights? “The instructor, Dave, was so relaxed and patient; he provided a very comfortable environment to train in. He helped me learn how to teach Elise to get in and out of the pool safely. He was so good to work with because I didn’t feel under pressure.”


Meet Guide Dog Elise

Elise was a joy to raise. Her playfulness, energy and overall sweet disposition was evident from day one. Elise and I had many adventures together, a lot of hiking on local trails and a couple National Parks, exploring downtown Baltimore and Washington DC, attending baseball and high school football games, trying new restaurants and playing around the water. Elise immediately took to the water. When she was a young pup at the beginning of the summer she’d sit on the front of my kayak as we explored our creek. By the end of the summer she’d usually sit on the kayak just long enough to leave the pier and then abandon ship and swim next to me. What I remember most about Elise is her  disposition, loving nature and that face! Beautiful brown eyes framed by eyebrows that melt your heart. I called her “Lovable Elise”.  Elise’s journey to be a guide dog was interrupted by the COVID pandemic. She went back to GEB for IFT just 2 months before the shut down, but thanks to local foster Andrea Lerman and her family, Elise had a new family to love and care for her, and even after training resumed as part of the new Home Foster program.

Gena Reed, Puppy Raiser of Elise

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