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Sandra and Elliott

Meet Graduate Sandra

Sandra and black Lab guide dog Elliott stand at entrance of a brick building looking at the cameraGraduate Team: Sandra and Elliott
About the Team: Elliott, a male black Lab, is Sandy’s 1st guide dog
Hometown:  Greensboro, North Carolina
Training: November 2023 Home Training

Sandy is a first time guide dog handler, settling into life with Elliott.  She retired from her position as account clerk for the Greensboro Public Library System, where she worked for 25 years. Sandy was born and raised in New Jersey but in adulthood headed south to North Carolina, relocating thirty-five years ago. The onset of her vision problems began at a very early age, but she lost most of her sight around 2016.  She still tries to stay active despite having only very limited peripheral vision. She loves all genres of music, dancing, and regular exercise. Sandy is the mother of two adult sons. She has been a dog lover and owner throughout her life and currently has a Rottweiler, Brandi, who gets along well with Elliott. She sleeps alongside Elliott, and they have become best friends.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Elliott is a real blessing. He is very lovable and loves licking my face. At times he can be determined, but he is always hard working. He will find a pillow when he wants to relax. He just loves pillows.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I was led to the idea of a guide dog by the staff of the Greensboro Department of Social Services. They had trained me on the use of a cane and suggested I explore Guiding Eyes.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Elliott gets me outside more than I did prior to his arrival. We go shopping at local stores like Target and for groceries, as well as out to restaurants. That said, occasionally I have experienced a lack of empathy from people who have not been around guide dogs. It is getting easier though.”

Were there any training highlights? “I trained at home which enabled me to bond quickly with Elliott. This enabled me to really trust his judgement and his ability to avoid obstacles. My instructor, Nikki Wentz is a wonderful, beautiful person. She was very encouraging and positive throughout my training. I was very sad when Nikki had to leave because I missed having her wonderful personality around.”

Meet Guide Dog Elliott

DOB:  6/29/2021
Litter ID: 3EE21
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Male
Brood: Frannie
Stud: Dasher
Littermates: Echo, Enzo, Elmer, Ed, Elias, Elroy, Ephram
Region:  Southern Tier NY
Regional Puppy Instructor: Cassie Houghton
Puppy Raiser:  Jenevieve Huta, Jessica Henry
Facebook: Southern Tier Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raisers…

Elliott is so crazy smart and loves to learn! A few days after he came home, we had a 13 pound, 2-month-old puppy who knew all his core commands without a lure. Sometimes I could look at him and he would do exactly what I wanted him to. We were college student raisers, so Elliott attended classes and sporting events with us– settling during these busy moments always made me proud! One of my favorite traits about him was how snuggly he was- if there was a pillow or blanket in the house he would find his way onto it. Elliott changed my life and I can’t wait to see how much joy he and Sandy will bring to each other! ~ Jenevieve Huta, Puppy Raiser

I couldn’t have asked for a better dog as a first time raiser. Elliott is a snuggly, smart, and driven little (now big) guy! While puppy raising is a challenge he made it beyond worthwhile. Elliott has always been a cuddly dog that bonds hard to his people. If he’s in then he is all in and always aims to please. I’m so proud that he now gets to share this love and drive with Sandy. I’m really excited for this team and wish them endless cuddles and adventures! ~ Jessica Henry, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…