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Peter and Fredo

Meet December Home Training Graduate Peter

Graduate Peter and black Lab guide FredoGraduate Team: Peter and Fredo
About the Team: Fredo, a male black Lab, is Peter’s 7th Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  Columbia, Missouri
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Melinda Angstrom

Peter and his guide dog Fredo live in Columbia, Missouri. Orginally from Pleasantville, NY, Peter has traveled a unique journey working in many careers. They include working in customer service, as a musician, a grants manager, a mediator between pro-life and pro-choice activists, and a workplace diversity specialist. Peter is the author of three published books, currently works as a consultant and blogs regularly. He also tutors student athletes from the University of Missouri in writing and critical thinking skills. Peter’s free time is immersed in music, playing the drums in a jazz band and the praise band at his church, as well as singing in four choirs.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Fredo is very, very sweet.  He’s a big dog and incredibly well muscled. I’ve never had a dog as big as this, so when I first saw him I worried I wouldn’t be able to handle him, but he’s a gentle giant. He loves affection and works hard. He’s been to a couple church services and choir practices and did really well with the noise. He’s great; a fun dog and he has a sense of humor too. He’s wonderful; I’m so pleased with Fredo.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “This is my 7th dog in over 42 years, and they’ve all been fabulous, each working about 7 years. I’ve been able to have six dogs for such long times and they’ve been great – why would I go anywhere else? Back in the 70s, Guiding Eyes had a newsletter in braille that they’d send out, and I got on their list to receive these letters. I knew I was going to get a dog one day. I loved dogs and was raised around dogs. When I was in college, I knew that when I graduated and moved out on my own, getting a dog would be a good idea. That’s when I applied to Guiding Eyes.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “It’s freed me up to travel – it’s so much easier and having a guide dog helps me meet people. Travelling with a cane is like a contact sport. You have to touch everything. The whole purpose of a guide dog is to go around those obstacles. Once you get your stride with your dog you can hit the ground running. Fredo and I are working on it!”

Were there any training highlights?  “I’m a drummer in a jazz band and one fun memory was when we took him to a rehearsal. They have a big backyard, other dogs and a fish pond. We were outside relaxing and the next thing I heard was, “Fredo, no!” and a huge splash. Training can be challenging and that was a great time to chill, run and play with other dogs, or jump in a pond. Fredo dove into the fish pond not once, but three times. He came back wagging and dripping everywhere. I found out later from his puppy raiser that he loves lakes. You could hear the splash from 200 yards away! It was such a funny, happy moment.”

Meet Guide Dog Fredo

Truly, Fredo was one of the most enjoyable dogs I have raised, and I have raised over a dozen. I raised his mother and several other dogs in his family, and they were/are among the best, but Fredo was handsome, smart, and fun to work with. He is a gentle giant who loves to swim and is an excellent fetcher. His most frequent outing was to church where he helped serve on the coffee team. He would down/stay as other people came and went and stepped around him, then walk alongside the push cart as I took the coffee around the lobby. Always a gentleman, I don’t think many people even knew he was in the building because he never drew attention to himself.

Kim Harrison, Puppy Raiser of Fredo

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