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Renee & Shamus

Meet Home Training Graduate Renee

Graduate Renee and guide Shamus sit on brick steps and look towards the cameraGraduate Team: Renee & Shamus
About the Team: Shamus, a male black & tan German Shepherd, is Renee’s 6th Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown: Stanley, North Carolina
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Dave Hagemann

Renee is enjoying retirement after many years of service as a social worker for the blind, as well as a certified low vision therapist. She keeps active and busy by volunteering with her church, reading and going for walks. Early each year, she visits different parts of the United States as part of Ski for Light, a cross country skiing program for the visually impaired. Renee is currently coordinator for the Gaston County, North Carolina blind support group and for over 10 years, was a member of the Guiding Eyes for the Blind Board of Directors.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Shamus is very regal & takes his job as a guide very seriously. He is very affectionate, liking to stay close to me and laying on my feet if possible. Although they are different in many ways, my last dog was actually Shamus’s uncle.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog at Guiding Eyes? “I first applied to Guiding Eyes after having had clients who had good placements through the school. I decided it would be a good place to start. I find Guiding Eyes professional, caring and able to adapt to the specific needs of each client.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “My last guide dog retired earlier this year in January, and this has been the longest period I’ve ever been without a guide. I have particularly missed the companionship. I often walk 4-5 miles per day and feel safer and more independent with a guide dog beside me.”

Were there any training highlights? “This was my second home training. Although I miss the socialization opportunities found within a residential class setting and a trip away from home, it worked perfectly. My training was adapted to all of my needs.”

Meet Guide Dog Shamus

Shamus looking handsome in harnessShamus has a personality that you can’t help but fall in love with immediately. He earned the nickname “Famous Shamus”, because although he was raised on Cornell University’s huge campus, it seemed like no matter which part of campus we were on somebody would recognize and call out to him. Shamus was the mascot of the student section at hockey games, a big hit when he walked with me at my undergraduate graduation, and a beloved member of Cornell veterinary school’s Class of 2023. It’s his winning personality that allowed him to blossom into the guide dog he is today. I feel very blessed to be able to watch him spread his love to his handler and to everyone he meets on their journey together.”

Brittany Papa, Puppy Raiser of Shamus

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

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.