Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Margaret and Happy

Meet Graduate Margaret

Margaret and yellow lab guide dog Happy sit for their graduate portrait

Graduate Team:  Margaret and Happy
About the Team: Happy, a female yellow Lab, is Marjean’s 2nd guide dog
Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin
Training: November 2022 On-Campus 

Margaret was born and raised on a dairy farm in in Montfort, Wisconsin.  She was born with congenital cataracts, which limited her vision, and in 1979 she lost all eyesight due to glaucoma related to the disorder. She attended college at Northern Illinois University, earning her bachelor’s degree in family social services. Following graduation, she pursued office skills training at the Chicago Lighthouse and worked for an insurance company for eighteen years doing transcription. After her work for the insurance company, she returned to her home state, and currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin. She still performs freelance transcription work from home for the Illinois Blind Vendors Association. Her past and present hobbies and interests include bowling with the American Blind Bowlers Association, reading, crocheting, baking cookies, including snickerdoodles, her specialty. Happy is Margaret’s second dog from Guiding Eyes. Her previous guide dog was Beauty.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Happy is very intelligent and playful with boundless energy. She actually bonded quicker than my prior guide dog, probably because she was younger when I received her. Everyone comments on how well trained Happy is. Everyone who meets her is impressed.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “When I first lost my sight, I attended a blind adjustment and mobility program in Wisconsin. A woman working for the agency had a connection to Guiding Eyes and spoke very favorably of the school and my ex-husband had a guide dog from Guiding Eyes. Although I was a good cane traveler, these prior experiences helped me with my decision.  I also read the book, Trusting Calvin, which was recommended, and at the end of the book it talked about the three-fold advantage of a service dog: mobility, socialization, and companionship. The book was spot on.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “People are much more willing to approach me with a guide dog, as opposed to when I relied on a cane. Everyone is more comfortable interacting with me. Animals bridge the gap between the visually impaired and sighted people. Happy has brought so much more socialization into my life. Having a guide dog also provided me with a greater responsibility and the obligation to take care of her.”

Were there any training highlights?  “With Beauty, my first guide dog, I was trained at home. My daily chores impacted my focus at the time.  In class with Happy, I had no other obligations and could devote my full attention to her in terms of bonding, starting from our introduction. The opportunity to be with the five other students in my group was also reassuring and provided me the opportunity to learn from them. For me personally, it was a better experience. In addition, the accommodations on campus were wonderful. I was blessed with being assigned to the school’s first remodeled room. The food was also terrific and Chef Rob provided meals that were delicious and healthier than my usual diet. Ellin Purcell, my trainer, was easy to get along with. Also, Guiding Eyes’ chief of staff, Laura Peterman, participated in our two week training, in an effort to gain a greater perspective of the training experience. I really cannot say enough good things about Guiding Eyes. They even offered on-line lessons before getting my guide dog, which were amazingly helpful.”

Meet Guide Dog Happy

DOB:  1/24/2020
Litter ID: 2H20
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Female
Brood: Edna
Stud: Charlie
Littermates: Hattie, Harmony, Harrison, Hilton, Harbor, Houston, Harold, Hopi
Region:  Montgomery
Regional Puppy Instructor: Jeanyne Gembarski
Puppy Raiser:  Leanne Long, Acadia Parker & Jacob Meckler

From the Puppy Raiser…

Happy is one the sweetest, most eager to please dogs I have ever known. She was the most wonderful hiking buddy, eager companion when exploring D.C, and I know she has many days of adventuring ahead of her! After long days I know her happiest place is cuddling and I hope she is able to provide years of cuddly joy to her partner. I wish you both nothing but all the Happy-ness in the world!  ~ Acadia Parker, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…