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Macy and Kurt

Meet Graduate Macy

Macy and yellow Lab guide dog Kurt pose for team portrait

Graduate Team: Macy and Kurt
About the Team: Kurt, a male yellow Lab, is Macy’s first guide dog
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
Training:  January 2023 On-Campus

Macy is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas, majoring in Music Performance. She lives off campus with roommate, Caitlyn, who happens to be her best friend and a fellow Guiding Eyes graduate. They share their space not only with guide dog Kurt, but also Caitlyn’s retired guide, Aladdin, as well as cats Lily and Lucifer. Based on her college major, it’s no surprise that in her free time Macy’s interests include making music and listening to music. She also enjoys hanging out with friends and trying new coffee shops. Macy participates in three clubs based on music-related study: Sigma Alpha Iota, a music sorority, the National Association for Music Education, an organization that advances the music education profession and creates activities to supplement music curriculum, and a new club called Thema, an organization for music theory, composition, ethnomusicology, and musicology.

How would you describe your guide dog? “The first word that comes to mind is sweet; so sweet and kind. Even when people look at him, they say he looks like a sweet boy, and he is. He just loves everyone! He’s very calm and very kind. He’s so grounding. If in Harry Potter, Kurt would probably be a Hufflepuff or possibly a Gryffindor. He will love everyone and anyone always and forever.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “My roommate and I have been best friends for over 8 years. We met at a summer camp for blind students and bonded immediately. We live 3 hours apart and would get together for a week or so over spring break. Before the pandemic we took a trip to Silver Dollar City, an amusement park, and she had her guide dog with her. I was just watching her work and the way people interacted with them versus the way they interacted with me and a cane. She had gone to Guiding Eyes so that was one of the first places I looked at. I liked that Guiding Eyes is the kind of school that will meet you where you are at.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “It’s so much more effortless and fluid. I think the biggest thing for me is not having to think about travel in the same way. I can walk down the sidewalk and know my dog is going to stop when he’s supposed to and turn correctly. With a cane you’re constantly thinking differently.”

Were there any training highlights? “I required a dog switch and met Kurt on the Friday of week one. I had spent a great deal of time with this other dog, and I was very attached, so all of the training from that point forward seemed bittersweet. My classmates at Guiding Eyes were so good and so supportive when it happened, and we still talk to each other. We would hang out in Alumni Hall every night and have hot chocolate. It helped ease my anxiety about being behind my classmates and bonding with Kurt. Kurt was the first highlight of my training, but my class was a close second.”

Meet Guide Dog Kurt

DOB:  5/12/2020
Litter ID: 4KK20
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Male
Brood: Jenna
Stud: Tito
Littermates: Toby, Kirby, Karma, Kiwi, Koala, Kermit
Region:  Baltimore
Regional Puppy Instructor: Jeanyne Gembarski
Puppy Raiser:  Jennifer A. Summers, (Marsey Family, starters)
Facebook: Baltimore Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Kurt enjoyed attending school every day at St. Ignatius Loyola Academy where he learned to navigate the busy hallways, cheer on teams at sporting events, and ignore the smells and crazy sounds of an all boys middle school! ~Jennifer Summers, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…