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Melchion and Larson

Meet Graduate Melchion

Grad Melchion and yellow Lab guide dog LarsonGraduate Team:  Melchion and Larson
About the Team: Larson, a male yellow Lab is Melchion’s 1st guide dog
Hometown:  Freeport, New York
Training: October 2022 On-Campus Training

Melchion is always busy! He stays active practicing martial arts, running or playing on his Beep Baseball team.  He is a self-employed consultant, testing websites and applications on both the Mac and iPhone for accessibility using the screen reader, Voice Over. 

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Larson is my first guide dog and my first dog! When he is not working, he’s goofy and loves to play; he makes everything into a game. I am grateful his puppy raiser gave me a basket of toys for him, so I know what he likes to play with. When he’s in harness, he is a good worker and very capable guide. I’m amazed at how easily he avoids obstacles.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I completely lost my vision in 2016.  Although I am a skilled cane user, after meeting someone with a guide dog, I realized they were able to get around much more quickly! I am a very active person and the pace I can maintain with a guide dog suits my lifestyle much better.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “Since getting Larson, I am impressed at how quickly we walk together. It almost feels like we are gliding along or dancing! I’m not even aware of many of the distractions and obstacles Larson navigates around until someone tells me. He easily leads me around sidewalk seating areas and groups of people. There is bike path near my house that I like to run on.  Larson and I walked the path to get him familiar with it and test it out.  He was great and was not distracted by people on bikes, rollerblades, or the grassy, natural surroundings.”

Were there any training highlights?  “Although Larson is my first dog, the training experience was amazing, and it came very naturally to me.  I was told I was a dog whisperer!  A couple of my classmates were experienced guide dog users and they shared good advice. I also enjoyed meeting Larson’s puppy raiser. She shared a book of pictures of the many adventures Larson had with her.”

Meet Guide Dog Larson

DOB:  5/17/2020
Litter ID: 2LL20
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Male
Brood: Lava
Stud: Ryan
Littermates: Lowell, Lyric, Lemon, Lester
Region:  Montgomery
Regional Puppy Instructor: Jeanyne Gembarski
Puppy Raiser:  Corey Jaye Sturges
Facebook: Montgomery Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

It’s hard to put into words what an amazing pup Larson was to raise. From the time I was handed him at six weeks old to dropping him off at the training school doors, he took on every adventure with a wagging tail and a happy trot. Raising a pup right outside of Washington DC provides immense opportunities and we took advantage of every one. We explored the monuments, went to Capitals and Nationals games, rode the metro, took advantage of every event, made many friends along the way, and posed for far too many pictures. The streets of DC became Larson’s stomping ground, he walked those streets with such confidence, like he knew he was meant to be a guide dog. My proudest moment had to have been when he flew for the first time. Being a pandemic puppy he had never been around that many people, but you would never have known it. He navigated the airport like he had done it hundreds of times and slept on the plane. He was always ready for every adventure and I know he will be just as ready for every guiding adventure. I cannot wait to see all that Larson and Melchion accomplish together!  ~ Corey Jaye Sturges, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…