Graduate Team Marin and Kegan
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 May Residential Training Graduate Marin
Marin comes to Guiding Eyes for her first guide dog. In 2019, she graduated with a degree in Psychology from the University of Miami, with plans to pursue graduate studies. However, her plans were upended soon after graduation when an auto accident robbed her of her sight. This determined 24 year old intends to continue her studies in the near future. Marin loves yoga, knitting and cooking and she also enjoys visiting farmer’s markets and walking in the park with her partner and their dogs.
How would you describe your guide dog? “Kegan is a perfect balance of work and play; he understands perfectly when it’s time to work or to relax. He must have been a fish in a previous life as he loves water and will always find his way into it! He’s an absolute cuddle-bug, which is perfect for me. He can read the room and my emotions and loves resting his head on me. He also loves working and the second his harness is on, he moves up into third gear – like a sports car on a mission!”
What made you decide to apply for a guide dog at Guiding Eyes? “I had been attending the Miami Lighthouse since my accident and they were the biggest advocates of Guiding Eyes. Their CEO has received multiple dogs from here, and being my mentor, encouraged and supported me in submitting my application.”
How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Having a guide dog has not only made me feel like I’m getting back to my life, but I have such an emotional bond with Kegan. I have an increased sense of security and confidence in my social environment; he’s given me back my independence. He will open many doors for me – I’ll be able to travel and go on outdoor adventures, which I’d missed after the accident.”
Were there any training highlights? “One of the first things I’d fixated on after my accident was getting a guide dog, so when I was introduced to Kegan for the first time, I immediately cried with emotion. Every time I went out with him, I could feel how he was another set of eyes looking out for me. When I went out on a run with him, with the wind on my face and the pavement under my sneakers, I felt free again for the first time! It’s incredible. Going to Guiding Eyes for Residential Training was the first time I’d travelled independently since my accident and I found the whole experience so encouraging. I knew everything I wanted to do had become possible, through the support of Guiding Eyes.”
Meet Guide Dog Kegan
- DOB: 2/2/19
- Tattoo ID: 8K19
- Color/Breed: Yellow Labrador Retriever
- Gender: Male
- Brood: Yoshi
- Stud: Wallace
- Littermates: Kipley, Kasie, Kelso, Kiera, Keaton, Kenmore, Keene
- Region: New Hampshire/Maine
- Regional Manager: Pat Webber
- Puppy Raiser: Justin Sowden, Jenna Spohn (secondary), Mary Ocompo (starter)
- Facebook: Guiding Eyes New Hampshire Puppy Raisers
- Facebook: Guiding Eyes Maine Puppy Raisers
Kegan is a very special dog, it’s hard to put it into words in any way that explains it well enough. He’s funny and caring and he just has a way of making everyone he meets fall in love with him. He really wants to do everything he can to please you and make you happy. Thanks to Guiding Eyes being able to bring the best out of their dogs and Kegan’s eagerness to please, I have no doubt that he will make a wonderful guide and companion.
Justin Sowden, Primary Puppy Raiser of Kegan
Kegan is the brightest, silliest soul I have ever met. He is very attentive to his human and quick to know exactly what you need from him. Kegan loves water – any hikes or strolls were always finished with some water time, whether in a stream or the ocean. He loves snow and loves to swim, and any toy that squeaks is his best friend. He learned new behaviors very quickly, had exceptional house manners and excelled in grocery stores – every Sunday he would stay by my side while I pushed the cart. On one busy Black Friday, we were in a checkout line behind a mom and a small boy, about Kegan’s height. When they turned around the little boy let out a screech, and although face to face, Kegan did not react at all. He got so many compliments from people, and I was so incredibly proud of him. He was only 9 months old at the time. Every person that met him fell in love with him, and rightfully so, because he is the most special dog I have ever met. You will never have a bad day with Kegan by your side.
Jenna Spohn, Puppy Raiser of Kegan
Enjoy these photos of the team and Kegan as a pup on program…
Meet our other recent guide dog team graduates. Click here!
Friends and Family: Watch this video to learn more about Working with a Guide Dog Team.