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Morgayne and Varick

Meet November Home Training Graduate Morgayne

Graduate Morgayne and guide VarickGraduate Team: Morgayne and Varick
About the Team: Varick, a male yellow Lab, is Morgayne’s 3rd guide dog and 1st from Guiding Eyes
Hometown:  Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Kathy Rooney

Morgayne is excited to have passed the Uniform Bar Exam in every jurisdiction, pending official admission in Massachusetts December 2021. Morgayne resides with her mom, and her sister and young niece live nearby. In her free time, she enjoys practicing and teaching yoga, going for runs, going out with friends and spending time with family. Morgayne volunteers at a family law and domestic violence clinic. She co-teaches with a prior supervisor, helping students assist clients who are going through domestic violence crises, but can’t afford legal services. She also helps teach a general family law class at her former law school.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Varick has such a good energy and demeanor. Every minute of work I put in with him just comes back tenfold. He’s so hardworking and wants to do the right thing, wagging his tail when he works. He likes to work hard and play hard; when the harness comes off, he has a secret wild side. He’s athletic and strong, but also really calm. He’s a big dog and fitting him in the car can be challenging, but he is so flexible, we always do! I feel really safe and protected with him -he’s always looking out for me. The other day in a store a woman came up and said she could tell by the look in his eyes how bonded we are; by the way he’s always looking out for me. I think that speaks to our bond and just the way he is. He loves meeting new friends, but he’s such a mama’s boy. His nicknames are Snoopy and Clifford. He has such a good personality and I’m so thankful to have such a sweet, chill and awesome dog.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I love the positive training methods and the focus on positive reinforcement; also the modern approach to training that includes many new and useful commands, such as touch and targeting. I once saw a guide dog find the chair and stairs and said, ‘I wish my dog could do that.’ I had to know where they got their dog, and they told me Guiding Eyes.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “To me, having a guide dog feels like being able to use a car instead of a bicycle. It provides so much more freedom and independence and I’m able to travel to many more places and learn routes faster. I can get to places I need to go at an average speed, whereas with a cane it takes twice as long to do the same route. I feel so safe with him. He knows traffic checks and intelligent disobedience. All these things open up entirely new places that I’m able to go independently and would not have felt comfortable doing with my cane. It’s also a lot of fun and he is a best friend for me. You can’t hug your cane!”

Were there any training highlights?  “The trainer, Kathy was absolutely phenomenal, and really, the moment that I knew how amazing of a match we had, was when we walked around in my law school where I teach. He was so happy and calm and in his element, being in the city and at the law school. Knowing he loved it helped me to realize how well he would fit into my life and my lifestyle. Another moment was when we did intelligent disobedience, and he did so good. He was 4 for 4 and I felt safe knowing he wouldn’t let us go in front of a car, especially living in a city. Also, the second I met him he licked my face and was so happy. At the end of our training, Kathy said, ‘I can just tell how happy he is working with you.’ Having a happy dog and a happy handler is a match that is sustainable and a beautiful bond to be a part of.”

Meet Guide Dog Varick

We cherished the extra time we had with Varick due to COVID. From puppyhood to the moment we sent Varick, the gentle giant, for formal training was a joy. Always happy, always loving and always a character, Varick will forever be in our hearts!

Tina and Cindy , Puppy Raisers of Varick

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