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Miranda and Grover

Meet Graduate Miranda

Miranda sits with black Lab Guide dog Grover for their team portrait

Graduate Team:  Miranda and Grover 
About the Team:  Grover, a male black Lab, is Miranda’s 1st guide dog
Location:   Englewood, Colorado
Training:  August 2023 On-Campus

Miranda has loved dogs her entire  life. Before she became blind, she raised 10 guide dog puppies with her family and thinks it serendipitous to have her own guide dog, after having raised so many for others. Miranda set out for the United Kingdom after high school to pursue higher education, studying Archeology and Anthropology at the University of Oxford. Her Master of Science degree is in Pre-Historic and Pre-Colonial Archeology, with a research focus on the domestication of the dog. Having returned to the U.S., Miranda works as a kennel technician at Freedom Service Dogs. She is proud to look after the dogs trained to assist people with disabilities, such as mental and physical injuries sustained by members of the armed forces. Grover is adored by all her coworkers and enjoys coming to work. Through her experience as a puppy raiser, academic, and service dog professional, Miranda has witnessed the bond between a working dog and their handler from many angles. She is excited to experience it firsthand with Grover.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “I love Grover. He has lots of thoughts and feelings about the world, and he shares them with me. He’s silly and playful when we go for nature walks. He’s very gentle with puppies at work and with his toys.  In harness, he’s intrepid, eager, earnest, and smart as a whip. He loves to train and learn and explore new environments. He’s the king of targeting and has learned dozens of new targets. He enjoys hanging out with the dogs at work and gets lots of playtime throughout the day. At the end of the day, he wants nothing more than to cuddle with me.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “Melissa Smith, the regional GDMI responsible for Colorado, is a friend of the family and talked with me about Guiding Eyes. It was appealing to learn about the world-class genetics and reproduction, robust early puppyhood socialization, rigorous behavioral assessments, the beautiful campus, GEB’s good track record of successful matches, and the superb lifetime support.  Guiding Eyes stresses the importance of hospitality and the welcoming environment of the school.  All of that really rings true in my experience.”

How has a guide dog impacted your life? “Having Grover, I walk with a smoother and more natural gait, and as fast as I want. It’s freeing. My confidence and self-esteem have increased. I trust him wholeheartedly and he brings me joy every day. We can walk off trail out into nature, safely exploring together. Pain was a big part of my experience of blindness before, but with Grover, my eyes no longer strain for me to walk safely. Having a guide affords me more independence as well as constant companionship and love. Plus, we can be ambassadors for the blind community when people stop to say hello.”

Were there any training highlights? “We went to the Prospector Theatre in CT, a non-profit operated mainly by people with disabilities, offering accessible showings, with audio description, closed captioning, and sensory-friendly screenings. We saw the Barbie movie, and Grover did an excellent job ignoring the popcorn. Grover and I also went for an early morning hike with our class GDMI Michelle and his foundation trainer Miranda. It was refreshing to get out in nature, and I learned to handle Grover off-trail and on rough terrain. In Cold Spring, we went antiquing, walked by the Hudson River, and met for lunch and ice cream. Really, every day of class was a highlight because of the wonderful people. The staff at Rosie’s Café are extraordinarily friendly and accommodating. The GDMIs, veterinary, kennel and office staff are all fantastic as well. We keep in touch with Michelle and Miranda, and his raiser, Jordan. I’m so grateful to all the people who dedicated their time, money, energy, and love to making our partnership possible.”

Meet Guide Dog Grover

DOB:  3/31/2021
Litter ID: 9G21
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Male
Brood: Fortune
Stud: Dasher
Littermates: Grayson, Gatsby, Gonzo, General, Gemini, Gibbs, Gideon, Guthrie
Region:  Richmond
Regional Puppy Instructor: Madeline Bruggeman
Puppy Raiser:  Jordan Moore

From the Puppy Raiser…

Grover was a very happy and energetic puppy. He was so willing to do whatever was asked of him and enjoyed getting to experience the world with his raisers. While on puppy program, Grover, loved being both the little brother to released dog, Marc, and the big brother to GEB Lazz. Being the middle dog was a role that he played perfectly. We are so excited for Grover and his new partner. We wish them many years success and friendship together!  ~ Jordan and Stephen Lock 

Photos of the Team…