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Patricia and Drew

Thank you to our generous June Graduate Sponsors…

“Congratulations to the June graduating class and guide teams.  Healthy Vision Association is  proud to support Guiding Eyes and all the great work you do.”

Healthy Vision Association Charity Fund

“We celebrate all of the graduates this day. We appreciate all of your perseverance to arrive at this point in your journey with Guiding Eyes. We dedicate our shared sponsorship of this particular graduation to the memory of Kate Fanti. She was an enthusiastic Guiding Eyes volunteer who brought the understanding of the important mission of Guiding Eyes to WCDNF. She brought Omar to a club meeting. We miss her and we believe that her giving, friendly manner helped with the preparation of the Guiding Eyes puppies.  She often shared photos and anecdotes about her very special puppies at club meetings.” 

Women’s Club Danbury/New Fairfield

Meet June Residential Training Graduate Patricia

Trish and her new guide Drew take a break from training in White PlainsGraduate Team:  Patricia and Drew
About the Team: Drew, a male Black & Tan German Shepherd, is Trish’s 1st Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  Longmont, Colorado
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Judith DeMaria

Trish lives in Longmont, Colorado with her husband and 3rd guide dog, Drew. Trish works for the University of Colorado Boulder, and also does bookkeeping for the company she and her husband own. Additionally, Trish gives back as the co-founder of Soundbridge Music, a Colorado based nonprofit working to break down barriers and help musicians get out into the community. In her free time Trish enjoys exploring her passion for music by playing with her own band.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Drew loves life. He’s totally enthused about everything and is so hyper-focused on everything I’m doing. He’s kind of a busybody – he wants to know what everyone is doing! He is the biggest, sweetest mush and an extremely competent guide. He works even better when there is a lot going on. We’ve bonded so well, and he is my partner in crime. We’re doing everything together – we’re a package deal.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I saw Melissa Smith, (Regional GDMI), talking to a blind support group in my town of Longmont, and I spoke with her. She answered all my questions and I got to know her a bit. Knowing that there’s somebody local here to help provide support meant everything. The experience at Guiding Eyes was great. It was obvious that everyone there loves these dogs. It wasn’t just work for them; they all truly love the dogs.” 

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I’ve been using a cane since 2016. Working with Drew, I’m free in a way that I wasn’t free before, and I am so much more comfortable. I have much more confidence and I feel like I can just go. Also, when you’re working with a guide dog you’re physically not alone. I’m less apprehensive about going out now.”

Were there any training highlights?  “I had a ton of anxiety surrounding escalators and would go out of my way to avoid them, even if that meant taking an elevator in an obscure part of the building or store. I went through escalators several times with my instructor Judith and when Drew came in, he was super confident! It was so easy. Night walking also went wonderfully well. I found that Drew loves flowers – nothing distracts him, but he loves to stop to smell flowers. There were so many things. I’m so grateful to everyone involved in getting him to me.”

Meet Guide Dog Drew

Repeat Puppy Raisers often say “This one is special! There will never be another one like this one!”, until the next one comes along and then we say “This one is special! There will never be another one like this one!” And it is all true. Each one of these dogs is so very special, and Drew is exceptionally special! Besides being a wonderful puppy to raise, Drew helped us welcome pup-on-program Ward into our home as the world was shutting down last year due to the pandemic. They both accompanied me to work where Drew showed Ward the in and outs of being both a shop dog and a future guide dog. As we reopened our shop, employees and customers alike came in just to see and pet Drew, and they took great comfort from his calming presence. We are so excited for this next chapter in Drew’s life and wish the team a long and happy partnership! GO TEAM DREW!!!

Julie Albany, Puppy Raiser of Drew

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