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Samuel and Stan


Samuel kneels next to his guide dog Stan while training at the mallMeet Home Training Graduate Samuel

Graduate Team:  Samuel and Stan
About the Team:  Stan, a male yellow Lab, is Sam’s 1st guide dog
Hometown:  Cranbury, New Jersey
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Caryn Fellows

Sam has worked in public education his entire professional life, as a teacher, elementary school principal, then as a Director of Human Resources. He has a large family which includes 6 children, enjoys reading and rowing with the Carnegie Lake Rowing Association, a group affiliated with Princeton University. He is looking forward to developing his non-profit organization, providing support to parents and families of children with Autism. In the future, with his guide at his side, Sam hopes to further his service to others by offering counseling and life coaching and doing public speaking engagements.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Stan has a friendly, welcoming demeanor. He is very intelligent, loyal, peaceful and calming, and has been extremely well trained. We make a wonderful team and communicate well with each other. Stan is constantly looking up and checking in.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog at Guiding Eyes? “My wife, Christine, found out about Guiding Eyes and the Running Guides Program. At the time I was a runner, and that encouraged me to apply here for a guide dog. When I contacted the school, I found Guiding Eyes’ staff to be very responsive.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “It has been simply wonderful! Stan is more than a guide dog; he’s a beautiful spirit that has transformed my life, empowering me to be more independent. He has given me a sense of liberation, so now I feel I can function in a far more ‘able’ way. I can walk normally again, as I did when I had vision, and am far more relaxed when traveling.  I can’t imagine life without him now. A bonus has been the feeling that I have joined a wonderful community that includes Stan’s puppy raiser and foster caregiver.”

Were there any training highlights? “All of it! Caryn was everything you would look for in a great teacher; she was patient and kind. She grasped what I needed to practice, repeat, and move on from, while being complimentary and supportive. I found her explanations as to why things were important extremely valuable. The intelligent disobedience experiences helped me learn how much I can trust Stan.”

Meet Guide Dog Stan

Guide dog StanI had the joy of starting yellow Lab Stan and also his dad, Guiding Eyes stud, Dax.  They were finished by Yfke Havinga and we were both so excited to raise one of Dax’s puppies. Stan was a confident, wonderful puppy from the day he joined my family in New Hampshire.  He was raised with 3 other dogs and 3 cats and exposed to a busy household with lots of things going on. It was a great training for him to finish being raised on a college campus. 

Michelle Russell, Puppy Raiser of Stan


Stan was my second GEB pup and the son of my first pup Dax, which made our time together even more special. I raised Stan at Binghamton University where he was the first-ever guide dog trainee. I cannot imagine a better dog to have been the first! He loved riding the bus to campus and accompanying me to my lectures. Stan was a rock-star during every outing and showed a passion for working that I had never seen before. During our last day together, we ventured into NYC where he showed off his skills in the challenging environments of Times Square, the subway, and MoMA. Stan was “on fire” that day and I vividly remember smiling the entire time, because all of our hard work had paid off. He is the goofiest, smartest, and tallest Labrador I know, and his handler will be sure to smile every day with Stan in his life.

Yfke Havinga, Puppy Raiser of Stan

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