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Miriam and Yani

Meet Graduate Miriam

Graduate Team: Miriam and Yani
About the Team: Yani, a female yellow Labrador, is Miriam’s 2nd Guiding Eyes dog
Location:  San Diego, California
Training: December 2022 Home Training

Miriam lives in San Diego, California where she works as a teacher’s aide, specializing in ESL, (English as a second language), for elementary school students. Miriam enjoys singing and takes weekly singing lessons. She also enjoys reading biographies and volunteers weekly as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Miriam lives with her grandmother and her parents live nearby.

How would you describe your guide dog? “She’s extremely affectionate. It’s really cute. She always wants to be near me, and she definitely knows the difference between time to work and not working. She’s really loyal too and very responsive. She understands she works with me and not anyone else. It’s nice because she’s a really obedient dog. I don’t always have to say things over and over again. She understands the first time exactly what I want from her.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I researched many schools and applied to at least three others, and Guiding Eyes was the first to respond. I came to Guiding Eyes because of the way they train their dogs, the breeding center, and the breeds they use. The training methods of Guiding Eyes and their instructors were important to me. Other schools were nice too, but I really liked Guiding Eyes.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I’ve never been able to drive – ever. I’ve always had my visual impairment, so I had to rely on other people for a lot of things, like going places, but now with Yani, I can just get on the bus or walk to a 7-11. I can do things on my own and walking is a lot smoother and faster. With a cane I had to be extremely careful; always looking down at my feet to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, and it would get stuck in cracks on the sidewalk. Having a guide dog feels the closest to driving a car. It’s not that you don’t have to do the work, but as soon as I tell her what to do, she can navigate the path for me. I don’t have to constantly be looking around thinking I’m going to bump into a pole or something, which I’ve done before. Having a guide dog also helps at night when I have almost no vision and no depth perception. I’m so, so happy that I have her. Even going downstairs is faster and crossing streets is so different now too. We’ve experienced a few traffic checks while we’ve been working together; Yani has responded to the traffic check like she was trained to do. I knew guide dogs could do that, but to feel it in action myself, was a completely different thing. To have it happen personally felt really, really nice.”

Were there any training highlights?  “I do remember this one time we were training in Old Town, a really nice tourist place in San Diego. Susan and I were talking about curbs and how to do a turn correctly, how to place my feet and things like that. Yani was standing at the curb very obediently, the way she normally does, while Susan and I were talking, but apparently got bored because she let out a big sigh. She was like ‘I’ve had enough of you talking about curbs and turns or whatever, and I’ll be here when you’re ready.’ It was adorable because she was very obedient in harness and ready to go, and then suddenly you hear this sigh and I turn around and she’s just sprawled out waiting. She sighs like a person. It’s so funny!”

Meet Guide Dog Yani

DOB:  11/6/2019
Litter ID: 3Y319
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Harlow
Stud: Zinc
Littermates: Yasha, York
Region:  Orange County
Regional Puppy Instructor: Elizabeth Vacchiano
Puppy Raiser:  Miss Kyle Elena Meade
Facebook: Orange County Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Yani was a sweet, confident puppy who came to me right before the COVID-19 shutdown. She is the sixth puppy my family and I have raised for GEB. She was a joy to raise, and helped me to smile everyday through those uncertain times of the early pandemic. She was with our family for two years, and it was amazing to get to watch her turn from a sleepy little puppy into a brave, grown up dog who wiggles her entire body when she is happy. She is always excited to work, is excellent at ignoring distractions, and can sleep almost anywhere. My family and I are incredibly proud of Yani! We wish her and Miriam the very best and we know they will make an amazing team. We love you Yani!  ~ Kyle Meade, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…