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Paul and Collin

Meet Graduate Paul

graduate Paul sits next to yellow Lab guide dog Collin against a blue backgroundGraduate Team: Paul and Collin
About the Team: Collin, a female yellow Lab, is Paul’s 2nd Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown: Parma, Ohio
Training: November 2022 On-Campus Training

Paul was born and raised in Ohio and currently lives “a stone’s throw” from Cleveland. His first guide dog, Leonard, was retired after eight and a half years of partnership, so Paul returns to Guiding Eyes for his second dog, Collin. Because of retinitis pigmentosa, he is unable to make out images and can only detect light. Prior to experiencing vision loss, Paul was employed in a local foundry. He is the father of two grown children and the grandfather of four. Paul’s hobbies and interests include working out in his local gym and spending time outdoors puttering around his yard.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Collin is a great companion. She is very affectionate and follows me everywhere. She is also an amazing and quick learner.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “Initially, when I was looking into getting my first guide dog, I researched 6 to 7 schools. When I first contacted Guiding Eyes, they returned my call within an hour or so from the time I reached out to them. This was not the case with other schools I contacted. I was interested in Guiding Eyes when I learned that they allow the guide dog recipients to adopt their retired guide dog. I also liked the fact Regional Guide Dog Mobility Instructors were available to come to my home if needed.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Leonard, and now Collin, have given me so much freedom to get around my community. I can now access shopping and make daily trips to the gym in my neighborhood. I am so much more independent and get around faster than when I relied on a cane. It took me 2 to 3 times longer to get around previously and I feel more secure and safe now having Collin by my side.”

Were there any training highlights? “The school experience was beyond excellent. Dan Weesner and Michelle Tang were great trainers. In the two weeks spent on the Guiding Eyes campus, they provided me with individualized training to fit my needs and help me function optimally with Collin in my everyday life. The Guiding Eyes staff was very accommodating. I was very impressed that during this on campus training there were nurses on­site. Their presence in the evening was very comforting. The kitchen staff was unbelievably accommodating with meals. I also really liked the availability of a coffee pot in my room, so I never went without my cup of coffee. Staff was always available to assist me, and I know it would be absolutely impossible for a staff to be more accommodating than the staff of Guiding Eyes.”

Meet Guide Dog Collin

DOB:  4/9/2020
Litter ID: S-5CC20
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Female
Brood: Guava
Stud: Tito
Littermates: Gemma , Chai, Citron, Crew, Curry, Cardamon, Claire
Region:  Eastern CT
Regional Puppy Instructor: Maureen Hollis
Puppy Raiser:  Teagan Mabrysmith
Facebook: Eastern CT Puppy Raisers

Special Recognition: Collin was special named in loving memory of Dr. Elizabeth J. Collins

From the Puppy Raiser…

Collin arrived shortly after COVID shut down the world. I finished my Freshmen year of High School online and then completed my entire Sophomore year online as well. While there were challenges raising her during COVID, it was by far and away an amazing antidote to the isolation that many felt during this time. She was my world and I am so lucky that I was able to spend, literally, every day with her practicing our skills. I grew as a person and pet owner and she grew in confidence and skill. To say I am proud of her is an understatement. While I was sad to lose my daily companion, the joy I felt watching her graduate with Paul filled my heart where she will be forever. ~ Teagan Mabrysmith, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…