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September 2015 Graduating Class

September 2015 Graduatiion
September 2015 Graduating Class

Click here to view this month’s graduation live.

Residential Graduates:
Victoria & Radley
Natalie & Annie
Matthew & Marilyn
Andrew & Shade
Patrick & Earnhardt
Barbara & Lil
Mary & Rowena

Home Training Program:
Kathleen & Frank
Susan & Nemo
Judith & Olaf

Special Needs Program:
Charlotte & Maggie

Many thanks to our instructors:
Melinda Angstrom, Class Supervisor
Stephanie Koret, Class Instructor
Kate Gardner, Class Instructor
Susan Kroha, Special Needs Instructor
Megan Crowley, Home Training Instructor
Chrissy Vetrano, Home Training Instructor
Dell Rodman, Home Training Instructor
Louise Thompson, Instructor Assistant


Victoria & RadleyVictoria and Radley

Victoria has been matched with her first guide dog, a male yellow Labrador named Radley. Victoria will begin a new career with Radley by her side at Industries for the Blind in North Carolina.

Victoria was born totally blind in her right eye. Her long-term career goal is to become a vocational rehabilitation counselor. Victoria is focused on helping people who are blind to remain active after high school. She enjoys learning, singing, reading, music and writing original poems. She shares “A cane won’t stop me from walking in front of an electric car or help me navigate a crowded room at a normal pace.” Radley opens new doors, and Victoria plans to relocate to a more walkable town with more opportunities for career and educational advancement.


Matthew & MarilynMathew and Marilyn

Matthew lives in Canada. He is a technology trainer with certification from California State University Northridge. His first guide dog is yellow Labrador Marilyn.

Retinopathy of prematurity caused Matthew’s vison loss. He studied radio broadcasting at University in London and attended the Colorado Center for the Blind. Matthew’s hobbies include reading, listening to the radio and podcasts, traveling, spending time with friends, and playing music. He is an accomplished keyboard musician. He shares a home with his sister and two cats in a neighborhood that is convenient to everything.




Andrew & ShadeAndrew and Shade

Andrew is a graduate student working on a PhD in Genetics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been matched with female black Labrador Shade, his second guide dog. She will be at his side as he completes his work in the cellular molecular biology lab and earns his PhD.

Lieber’s congenital amaurosis is the cause of Andrew’s vision loss. He attended Albion College for his bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in mass communication. He balances work with an active social life; Andrew is an avid hockey fan and enjoys many outdoor activities with his girlfriend. Shade is a strong, fast dog with a great pull. But she also has a fun and very affectionate side. Andrew is looking forward to experiencing life with Shade by his side.

Pat & Earnhardt


Pat and Earnhardt

Pat returns to Guiding Eyes for his third guide dog, a male yellow Labrador named Earnhardt.

Pat enjoyed a career as a special education teacher of first graders. He retired when retinitis pigmentosa took away much of his vision. The progression was very slow, and Pat decided a guide dog would help him to maintain his independence. Three guide dogs later, Earnhardt replaces his retired guide who is back with his puppy raiser.

Barbara & Lil



Barbara and Lil

Barbara is retired, having worked with Senator John H. Chafee (R-RI) in Washington, D.C. Her vision loss, caused by Marfan syndrome, impeded Barbara’s independence. Now, with her first guide dog, black female Labrador Lil, she is experiencing the joy of walking again and so much more.

Barbara loves to garden and cook. She volunteers in the neighborhood schools, and shares her experiences working for a U.S. Senator. For instance, she likes to tell students about the copyright amendment that allows authorized entities to reproduce previously published nondramatic literary works in formats exclusively for use by those who are blind or other persons with disabilities, making them accessible.

There are a number of parks in the neighborhood, and Barbara is looking forward to working with Lil. She shares, “It was common for people to grab my arm to help me along, often bringing me in the wrong direction. It is exciting to be with Lil, who guides me exactly where I want to go.”


Terry & RowenaTerrie and Rowena

Terrie lives in Kentucky and works with the American Printing House for the Blind. She has been matched with her sixth guide dog, a female yellow Labrador named Rowena.

Terrie’s total blindness was caused by retinopathy of prematurity. She graduated from Centre College with a bachelor’s degree in English and went on to the University of Kentucky for her master’s degree and PhD in psychology. Terrie worked as a psychologist, but has changed careers and is now a project leader in the R&D department of the American Printing House. She is very active in her free time, and enjoys swimming, walking, reading, music, cooking, writing poetry, and making cloth dolls and jewelry.

Rowena is everything Terrie needs in a guide dog; she is strong, fast, able to settle for long periods of time, but is ready to work in an instant. The bond is already strong. Terrie is excited to return home to enjoy all the future has in store.

Natalie & Annie



Natalie and Annie

Graduate not profiled






Charlotte & Maggie

Charlotte and Maggie

Charlotte has come to Guiding Eyes from Connecticut. She has been matched with Maggie, a female black Labrador and her first guide dog.

Charlotte’s vision loss was caused by diabetic retinopathy. She is a graduate of Western Connecticut State College, having earned her BBA in marketing. Charlotte worked in IT for over 30 years doing software programming, systems analysis and design, and is certified in project management. Limited vision has motivated her to seek new career opportunities. Charlotte enjoys knitting and taking online classes. She didn’t think she wanted a guide dog until she realized how isolated she felt. Charlotte started envisioning all the new opportunities a guide dog would offer. Now, she plans to move from the country town she grew up in to an area with public transportation, taxis and shops within walking distance. Maggie is more than she had ever expected; she is smart and very affectionate. The bond between them is already strong, and Charlotte knows it will only grow. She is looking forward to her first trip in six years when she and Maggie will travel to Myrtle Beach next month.