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Rachel and Chris

Meet Graduate Rachel

Rachel and black lab guide dog Chris sit for their team portrait on indoor carpeted steps

Graduate Team:  Rachel and Chris
About the Team:  Chris, a male black Lab, is Rachel’s 1st guide dog
Location:  Minneapolis, Minnesota
Training: June 2023 Home Training

Rachel graduated from Augsburg University in 2015 and works as a board-certified music therapist in a senior living community. With a passion for helping seniors, Rachel works closely with her clients to establish goals and creates music-based interventions to help them achieve those goals.  In addition to her work as a music therapist, Rachel is also a talented musician. She plays both the piano and guitar and enjoys writing her own music. Recently, Rachel co-authored a devotional book, showcasing another avenue of creativity. She enjoys staying active with interests like walking and riding a tandem bicycle and Rachel is also an avid runner. Over the past 17 years she has completed 4 marathons. Rachel describes herself as very social and loves spending time with friends and family.  To relax and unwind, she likes to read and cook.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Chris is the sweetest, smartest, and most obedient dog.  He is full of life and love! Chris works hard and plays hard. His tail is always wagging when he plays and often when he is working too. I grew up with Golden Retrievers, so I am very accustomed to having a lap dog as big as Chris. He brings so much joy to everything we do! I like sharing him with my residents who enjoy animal interaction.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I love dogs and knew I wanted a guide dog.  When my living situation was conducive to a guide dog, I applied to Guiding Eyes. The Running Guides Program sparked my interest initially. As I learned more, I was impressed by the training and instruction Guiding Eyes offers.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Chris and I began working together in May.  I am now able to easily navigate areas I could not have on my own.  For example, where I work there is a chapel and dining rooms. Both areas have many chairs in configurations that often change. Chris easily guides me through these areas.  I love taking care of him and being a ‘dog mom’.  We really take care of each other, and I am so grateful to have him.”

Were there any training highlights? “I trained at home and from the beginning I have been impressed with Chris’ memory.  After our first outing, Chris learned the route and knew when to turn left and get us home. He is an expert at finding and targeting the audible walk signal poles, too. Chris also has what is referred to as ‘intelligent disobedience’.  Twice I have commanded him ‘forward’ and he did not go, because before I could hear it, he knew a car was coming fast and zoomed right past us.  He knows what to do to keep us both safe!”


Meet Guide Dog Chris

DOB:  12/12/2020
Litter ID: 3C320
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Male
Brood: Adrienne
Stud: Dover
Littermates: Charlene, Chaz, Caitlyn, Carson, Chevy, Catalina
Region:  Cleveland East
Regional Puppy Instructor: Macy Nauman
Puppy Raiser:  Tyler Nelson & Sylvia Leonor
Facebook: Ohio Puppy Raisers

Photos of the Team…