Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Richard and Scooter

Rich and Scooter’s training was sponsored by Cerberus Capital Management:
On behalf of the Cerberus team, a huge congratulations to Rich and Scooter and the best of luck on your adventures together!

Meet Graduate Richard

Graduate Richard with yellow Lab guide dog ScooterGraduate Team: Richard and Scooter
About the Team: Scooter, a male yellow Lab, is Richard’s 1st guide dog
Hometown: Locust Valley, New York
Training: September 2022 On-Campus Training

Richard, 25 years old, lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his grandmother, Maureen, who raised him, as well as his younger sister, who he calls Ria (Maria). Richard has both partial vision and mid-range hearing loss, the result of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurred in utero. Despite these challenges, Richard graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Performance (Voice) and earned a minor in creative writing. He states that his job is his hobby, and his lifelong interests are now his career. They include composing music, writing lyrics and poetry, learning to play new instruments and the theater. He admits to a side interest in video gaming as well. Although he says that he enjoys a variety of genres of music, his passions are classical and opera. He regularly freelances in opera and is currently performing regional theater in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operatic revue, “Very Truly Yours”.  Despite his hearing impairment, he also does piano tuning on the side.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Scooter, physically, as described by my grandmother, has the size and strength of a miniature-pony. He can be a goofball and ham at times, then exhibiting a sad puppy face at other times. He has a great personality and checks on me frequently, especially when he is working.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “When I was researching a school, I narrowed it down and eventually considered just two schools. The Guiding Eyes program was clearly the best fit for me. Both friends and professional acquaintances in the deaf and blind community gave them rave reviews and validated that the Guiding Eyes program was well structured.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Where do I begin. It has been only a few weeks with Scooter and it’s going so nicely. I no longer have to rely on a cane to get around. It has become much easier to navigate. I find a cane to be lifeless and not promoting or eliciting feelings from outsiders in the community. A guide dog helps introduce conversation from others. Scooter has allowed me to have a quicker walking pace. His pace is neither too fast nor too slow and he frequently checks on me to see how I am doing. Having Scooter as a guide has now made it possible for me to audition in New York City and move around other larger cities without difficulty.  He also enjoys attending rehearsals with me.” 

Were there any training highlights? “Scooter and I went to some interesting and fun places around the town of Yorktown. The campus and the town offered diverse opportunities to learn the basics of transitioning to a guide dog. My trainer Shannon McGee was magnificent. She even came to my home town to help me learn more, which went a long way to alleviate both Scooter’s and my anxiety. Shannon was exceptional and a huge help with Q & A’s, beyond class.” 

Meet Guide Dog Scooter

DOB:  9/21/2019
Litter ID: 1S319
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Male
Brood: Samantha
Stud: Glenn
Littermates: Sutton, Sawyer, Sarge, Spencer, Sonnet, Steele
Region:  Columbus
Regional Puppy Instructor: Leslie Stephens
Puppy Raiser:  Hailey Magenheim, Katherine Althouse
Facebook: Ohio Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raisers…

Scooter had a big personality from the very beginning. He was the first dog I raised, and he definitely kept me on my toes. He taught me more than I ever could have imagined. My favorite thing about Scoot was his willingness to take on anything and everything. He lived on campus with me and was always happy to come with me to long classes or late night shifts at work. He also gave the best snuggles– he’s literally an 86 pound lapdog. Every morning Scooter would greet me with his favorite bone and a wagging tail. I couldn’t have asked for better companion during the pandemic. I’m forever grateful that I could be part of his journey. To Scooter’s new partner- enjoy each and every moment with this sweet boy. Expect endless laughs, sloppy kisses, and a whole lot of yellow hair.  ~Katie Althouse, Puppy Raiser

Scooter was the third pup I raised and he definitely is one of the smartest. I received Scooter on leap day and about a week later the world turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic so Scooter was my “Covid puppy”. He took everything in stride and despite the obstacles seemed to grow into an awesome and confident pup. Scooter definitely is a goofy guy and always could make you laugh or bring a smile, which was necessary during lockdown. I am so grateful to have been a part of Scooter’s journey, and I wish Scooter and Rich the best as they start out on their life together! ~Hailey Magenheim, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the team…