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Margot and Jennifer

Meet Graduate Margot

Margot and black Lab guide dog Jennifer walking down a wide sidewalkGraduate Team:  Margot and Jennifer
About the Team:  Jennifer, a female black Lab, is Margot’s 2nd Guiding Eyes dog
Location:   Denver, Colorado
Training:  July 2023 On-Campus

Margot is a licensed clinical social worker, (LCSW), and works as a therapist and case manager at a mental health center in Colorado. For almost 30 years Margot has been serving clients with persistent mental health issues, and truly loves the work she does and support she provides.  At the age of 38 when her young children were only 4 and 8 years old, Margot was diagnosed with retinopathy of prematurity. She and her children worked together through the difficulties of blindness and their day to day challenges. Margot got her first guide dog, Lena, from Guiding Eyes in 2016 while she was in graduate school. Lena provided her with a feeling of support and partnership while going to school, adjusting to being blind in the workforce, and parenting her kids into their teenage years. Now her partnership with Jennifer will take her into the next chapters.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “I call her my ‘grand flying dog’. She’s young, active and an awesome runner.  She and I enjoy running around the pond together. She loves my kids and is a part of the family. In harness she is incredible in helping me find my way, for example, through crowded malls. People often have a different response to differently abled people, but there is a balance in having an absolutely gorgeous Labrador at your side.  When I am seeing clients in my office, she is off harness and just being a dog, yet she helps the clients feel calmer and talk more. She makes some of the harder parts of therapy a little gentler.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “When I became blind, I looked up guide schools and contacted Guiding Eyes. I applied, then worked with my OM instructor so I would be ready for my first guide dog. I got the call that there was a dog for me. That was Lena, and she was amazing. You guys make awesome dogs!” 

How has a guide dog impacted your life?  “Having a guide dog has impacted my life in all ways.  She allows me to do things that I wouldn’t ordinarily do, like hiking or running. She helps make a connection with people in a different way, too.  A guide dog welcomes people, and caring family members can see the reactions of people you meet while walking. The attention that is brought when having a guide dog is a ‘connection’ point rather than a ‘difference’ point. It feels more welcoming. I didn’t have dogs before, only cats, and I found that dogs love you back! They are an extension of you over time, and you are an extension of them. They are with you always. There is somebody bearing witness to your life.  It’s a very strong trust.”

Were there any training highlights?  “Going to New York City was delightful. My trainer Michelle is one of the best people I’ve ever met. She and I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We also went to the Oyster Bar and Jennifer was amazing; she sat right next to my chair and relaxed. Jennifer and I also experienced using escalators and revolving doors.  The whole class in Yorktown was a fantastic experience. The positive contact with my classmates was great. We still stay in touch. Thanks to the school for all they do.  It changes your life to have a guide dog.  It’s beautiful, and I appreciate it a lot.”

Meet Guide Dog Jennifer

DOB:  4/14/2021
Litter ID: 5J21
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Gianna
Stud: Elrod
Littermates: Jacklyn, Jacob, Jessie, Joey, Jax
Region:  Eastern MA
Regional Puppy Instructor: Lisa Bumbalo
Puppy Raiser:  Aidan Wright & Family, The Payne Family
Facebook: Eastern Mass Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Jennifer is a real sweetheart! She loved hanging out with the whole family and going for adventures in the woods and to the beach. She liked to be busy and was at her best when the situation was the most challenging. I know whatever adventures you have together, Jennifer will be right by your side ready to take on the world together. ~ The Payne Family, Puppy Raisers

Photos of the Team…