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Nicholas and Norbert

Meet Home Training Graduate Nicholas

Nicholas and guide dog Norbert sit on a sunny bench during trainingGraduate Team: Nicholas and Norbert
About the Team: Norbert, a male German Shepherd, is Nicholas’s 1st Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  Portland, Maine
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Nikki Wentz

Nicholas is Professor of Spatial Computing in the School of Computing and Information Science at the University of Maine. He is a Ph.D. whose research deals with spatial cognition and information access by blind and visually impaired (BVI) people, and sighted folks in eyes-free situations. He is on the editorial board of two accessibility journals, as well as the board of directors of two blindness-related organizations.  Nicholas is also an active traveller, both nationally and internationally.  In his spare time, he lives an active lifestyle and enjoys kayaking, tandem bike riding and live music.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Norbert is compact, animated, interested, energetic, and huggy. He’s great with other people. I call him my ‘little fox’ because he’s the most cuddly Shepherd I’ve ever had!”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog at Guiding Eyes? “The excellent reputation of the school.”

How does having a guide dog impact your life? “Having a guide dog impacts almost everything I do in life. He allows me to be independent, travel the world, do new things, and carry out my job. Norbert will even be teaching class with me!”

Were there any training highlights? “As an experienced guide dog handler from another school, I was impressed that my trainer was very open to accommodating different commands and actions that I already used, to get the best results from our new partnership.”

Meet Guide Dog Norbert

Norbert is a very special pup.  He was always ready for the next adventure and earned praise for being very well behaved in public. He had awesome house manners and was friendly to all who came to our home.  Norbert also got along very well with the resident mastiffs, and the cats in the home. He would notice squirrels and rabbits, but did not chase them, as he would have loved to do.  He flew one time to Texas and was perfect in the airport, on the plane and at the home where we were staying. I enjoyed taking Norbert along on outings and he just enjoyed being along for any ride. Norbert went to work with me most days and he was loved by all at the vet clinic where I work.  He could be trusted with the pups that came to work with the other employees and even the cat that was around. I enjoyed Norbert’s confidence on outings and his willingness to go along for any adventure.

He was the easiest pup to train because you only needed to teach him something once and he had learned the command.  He was eager and ready for anything! Norbert is a very loving and loyal boy and enjoys being near his people.  Norbert is always ready for whatever the day holds in store. I loved his energy, as it was just right.  He seemed to be able to adapt to any situation with little to no stress.  He’s a very special boy that will make a wonderful companion to his new partner and I hope they have many years together!  It was my honor and privilege to raise Norbert.

Dru Anne Marshall, Puppy Raiser of Norbert

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

Meet our other recent guide dog team graduates. Click here!

Friends and Family:  Watch this video to learn more about  Working with a Guide Dog Team.