Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Paul and Wilder

Meet Graduate Paul

Paul and black lab guide Wilder sit for team portrait

Graduate Team:   Paul and Wilder
About the Team:  Wilder, a female black Lab, is Paul’s 6th Guiding Eyes dog
Location:   Peabody, Massachusetts
Training:  June 2023 On-Campus

Paul was a mechanic and a commercial fisherman out of Massachusetts, prior to the accident that caused his vision loss in 1983. He went on to attend the University of Massachusetts – Boston, graduating with a degree in Political Science and Economics.  Paul worked as a project manager within the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Medical Center in metro Boston, managing drop-in clinics for people with substance abuse and mental health challenges.  He enjoyed that experience and the opportunity to meet people and learn about the human condition. Paul also enjoys volunteer work, having served on the Board of Directors of the homeless shelter where he had worked for 25 years, and managing a substantial meal program for those in need. He has also been associated with the Carroll Center for the Blind and the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. Paul has a wife, children, and grandchildren who have welcomed Wilder into the family.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Wilder is small, energetic, and really intelligent; she loves to work and tries to train me. Having had six dogs, I thought that each dog was better than the previous. I’ve come to realize that my handling skills were getting better, and I was asking more of the dog, but the dogs are more capable than I once thought. In harness, Wilder is terrific. She adapts to my pace and instinctively understands my needs.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “In the early 80’s, I met people who were using Guiding Eyes dogs. My O&M Instructor encouraged me to apply to Guiding Eyes. I have always returned there because I believe the training is topnotch and always evolving, and I trust the school to find the right dog for me.”

How has a guide dog impacted your life? “Having a guide dog enables me to become more independent and confident. I’ve commuted from the North Shore to Boston for college and work for about 20 years as well as to many locations within Metro Boston. Without a guide dog this would have been very challenging.”

Were there any training highlights? “It is helpful that the training is tailored to the individual and real situations.  The training is challenging and fun at the same time.  We went to NYC, visited a coffee shop and restaurants.  I want to say that the Guiding Eyes staff is really competent and friendly. Every person I met at Guiding Eyes was positive, enthusiastic, and helpful.”


Meet Guide Dog Wilder

DOB: 11/18/2020
Litter ID: 5WW20
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Lois
Stud: Lloyd
Littermates: Wind, Winona, Winfrey, Weston
Region:  Capital NY
Regional Puppy Instructor: Kate Gardner
Puppy Raiser:  Michaella Paonessa
Facebook: Capital NY Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Raising Wilder is the highlight of my life, and probably my greatest life achievement. I’ve been told “she lives up to her name”, but she’s also exuberant, cheerful and devoted. I’m really proud of the lovely lady she flourished into and grateful to have been a part of Wilder’s journey towards becoming a guide dog. Wilder was the best temporary friend I could have ever asked for – she was always ready and willing to do anything at any time. I’m glad she has a forever best friend now. I wish Wilder and her new partner all the best!  ~Michaella Paonessa

Photos of the Team…