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Sandra and Orla

Meet Graduate Sandra

Sandra and yellow Lab guide Orla sit together for team portraitGraduate Team: Sandra and Orla
About the Team: Orla, a female yellow Lab, is Sandra’s 4th guide dog
Location: Palm Bay, Florida
Training: June 2023 On-Campus

Sandra was born in Brooklyn, New York, raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and eventually moved to Florida. She currently resides on the east coast in Palm Bay, south of Melbourne. She retired from her career as a cosmetologist, when in her late forties she lost her eyesight due to Retinitis Pigmentosa. Sandra’s hobbies and interests include jogging, fitness, and working out daily on a variety of gym equipment. She also enjoys reading and utilizing audio books. She has two adult daughters, and two grandsons, 15 and 17 years old. Orla is her fourth guide dog. Her previous guides Dahlia, Cammie, and Nugget, all graduates of Guiding Eyes, have guided her for over 25 years.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Orla is amazing. She is the best guide dog I have had, although they were all very, very good. She learns fast, is never distracted, and she is very attached and affectionate to me. When not working she really just loves to lie by my feet. I can’t be any happier with Orla.” 

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “Initially, Guiding Eyes was recommended to me by someone I knew who was blind. I heard it was a top-rated school, and four dogs later is proof. Also, knowing the staff and being familiar with the campus is very comforting.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Orla, as well as my previous guide dogs, has provided me with so much more freedom and confidence. I can walk and jog freely and no longer do I have to rely on others. My traveling is easier, and she enables me to see my children and grandchildren who live in Ohio and Pittsburgh.”

Were there any training highlights? “The training I received for each dog was always really good. However, each time I’ve been trained, the experience was even better. The food was excellent. Their cooks make healthy food taste so good. The service was impeccable. I spoke at our group’s graduation ceremony, and I wanted everyone to know that if only we could duplicate this in our own homes. The room accommodations, including bedding, was even more comfortable than in the past and now they’ve included an Alexa device and plentiful snacks. Hard to beat that.”

Meet Guide Dog Orla

DOB:  5/12/2021
Litter ID: S-2O21
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Capri
Stud: Octane
Littermates: O’Neil, Otis, Oliver, Oahu
Region:  Cleveland West
Regional Puppy Instructor: Macy Nauman
Puppy Raiser:  The Hostacky Familly
Facebook: Ohio Puppy Raisers

Special Recognition: Orla was special named by the Shane Binder and Terri Binder families.

From the Puppy Raiser…

Orla is a sweet, fun-loving, intelligent girl. While raising her, she was always eager to learn. There were a few things that could make her apprehensive, but we worked through it and seeing her growth was truly amazing. She is definitely doing her part to make the world a little better and we are thrilled for her and her graduate to learn together and share this adventure. – The Hostacky Family 

Photos of the Team…