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Mary and Odie

Meet December Residential Training Graduate Mary

Mary and guide Odie pose outdoors during December trainingGraduate Team: Mary and Odie
About the Team: Odie, a male black Lab, is Mary’s 2nd Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  DeKalb, Illinois
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Louise Thompson

Mary was formerly a kindergarten teacher at a childhood center. She now focuses her time on giving back with her volunteer work for the Salvation Army, where she helps with the food pantry and bell ringing at the holidays. In her free time, Mary enjoys taking walks for recreation, coaching for Special Olympics and working with a young athletes program in her area. Mary lives with her husband and daughter, and in addition to Odie, their family will have another new member. Her daughter’s new epilepsy alert dog, June, will be joining their family soon.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Odie is amazing. He listens well and his pull is wonderful. He walks a little faster than my last guide Tenor, which is nice, but I can also slow him down. He loves tug of war and playing with his toys, and he really does like to work. We went out for the first time to a restaurant recently and everyone wanted to meet him. Odie fit right into the family so well and has already met his soon-to-be sister, June. He’s so loving and likes to lay very close to me.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “My original reason for applying to Guiding Eyes, was because I have a cousin with the same eye condition, and she’s had several dogs from Guiding Eyes. She was my first inspiration and kept telling me I needed to go! With my first guide, Guiding Eyes went the extra mile to help me understand and learn what I needed to do, so I could be a good handler. Everybody was fabulous and we had a lot of fun. It was nice to go back this time and see some of those people. Part of coming back is from having such a fabulous success – I wouldn’t change where I get my guides from. I knew I needed to go back to Guiding Eyes. We visited in 2018 and showed my daughter where Tenor came from, which was nice. The trainers this time were awesome, and the nurses were too. We had so much fun, which I think makes the learning better. Everyone at Guiding Eyes is there for you. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back for my next one after Odie.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “It’s given me so much freedom. I’m able to go out and walk by myself and walk very quickly, at that. I’m just so excited to have another guide dog and can’t wait to get out and work with him. Everyone’s looking forward to me bringing him around. He’s going with my daughter and I to pass out Christmas gifts with the Salvation Army soon!”

Were there any training highlights?  “One of the biggest highlights was accomplishing the escalators. I wouldn’t do them when I was with Tenor, but it ended up going well with Odie. First, Amy stood with Odie while I trained with Louise a couple of times. Louise made it feel so wonderful and easy. When we finished with that part and I went back to meet with Amy and Odie, he was so happy to see me again. I almost cried. He was wagging his tail and so excited.”


Meet Guide Dog Odie

Odie was sweet and snuggly. Our time raising him was almost entirely during Covid, making outings more challenging, but he grew up happily running with my other dog and playing tug with her in the yard.  He loved to snuggle in the house with my son and we were sorry to see him go. 

Cristin Treaster & family, Puppy Raisers of Odie

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