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Payman & Yetta

Thank you to our generous September Graduate Team Sponsors…

“In memory of Aunt Maxine, a life-long animal lover, who cherished all the animals she knew, but most of all, was in awe of Jada, Cindy Lou Altman’s Guiding Eyes guide dog, and the freedom and confidence Cindy Lou gained. Maxine would be beaming knowing this graduation was sponsored in her memory.”

– Cris and Cindy Lou Altman

“In memory of Joe Hilton, and wishing Guiding Eyes Moseley good luck!”

– Tina Shevetone and Judy Eisele

Meet Home Training Graduate Payman

A month after training Payman Yetta pose in the leaves.Graduate Team: Payman and Yetta
About the Team: Yetta, a female yellow Lab, is Payman’s 1st guide dog
Hometown:   Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Kathy Rooney

Payman is the CEO of a newly formed organization, designed to support the fitness and wellness of blind persons. He is originally from Iran, a country he describes as being limited in its accommodations for the blind, but was afforded an advantage, having parents who worked in the educational and rehabilitation fields, with visually impaired students. He is grateful for the opportunities the U.S. has provided in his adult life and feels strongly that any service one receives should always prompt the question, ‘How can I pay it back?’  While assisting others with vision loss to stay active yet prevent injuries, he looks to his athletic and educational background to pursue this dream. Payman also gives back as a member of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. Payman is an avid runner and a world champion swimmer, (IBSF, Silver medal for 800m freestyle, 2003-Canada), competing in the sport he’s loved since the age of six.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Yetta is an angel. We’re really attached; people comment it’s as if we’ve been together for 5 years. It’s such a unique feeling to have her with us and to appreciate the training and hard work put into getting her here. She is super happy. My 12 year old son Daniel calls her ‘Super Dog’. He cares deeply about keeping her happy and healthy, playing with her in the yard. He understands she is a guide dog, but she is also in a family that loves her.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I searched around and liked that Guiding Eyes was close to home, professional with their own veterinary staff and offering a lot of support afterward. My walking speed was monitored at my interview and I walk very fast, so I was happy the school could offer me a dog like Yetta, who is very speedy.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “As an active person all my life, in sports and running, I cannot stop, especially during this pandemic.  How frustrated would I be if I could not be active enough?  I cannot describe myself with Yetta much better than asking basically, ‘who am I?’, as I am more complete with her. She gives me that opportunity; I am now more confident running or traveling independently. She can travel with me for my professional work as a CEO, pursuing my dream of making the blind more active. She’ll be a great companion to work with towards all these goals. Also, as I get older my remaining vision could change and I think Yetta can help me get ready for that.”

Were there any training highlights? “It starts at the beginning, when my family watched from the window and excitedly described her arrival. I found all the training Kathy taught me to be fascinating. I’d always seen working guide dogs, but when training with Yetta, I wondered how a dog can do all these things! The first day she avoided a bump in front of my house, then led me onto the grass around a low branch, then stopped me as she waited for a car backing out of a driveway down the street. She’s a ‘Super Dog’ and an angel.”

Meet Guide Dog Yetta

Guide Dog Yetta smiles in the sunFrom the beginning, Yetta was a pleasure to raise. She had an intense drive to learn and play ball.  She loved schooldays in my 5th Grade classroom where kids played with her and helped her practice her skills during recess. She modeled how to remain calm during fire drills and she was even given the “Most Popular 5th Grader” award.  Yetta loved camping, swimming, hiking and searching for clams at the ocean.  Whether it was learning a new skill, experiencing a new situation or retrieving ball after ball after ball, Yetta was up for any new adventure.  Best wishes to her and her forever person as she begins the most important adventure of her life.  She will always have a piece of our hearts!

Kari Parrish & Bernie Corbett, Puppy Raisers of Yetta

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

Payman and Yetta try out a run around the neighborhood… 

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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.