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Shari and Wella

Meet Graduate Shari

Shari leans sideways to rest her head on black Lab guide dog Wella at a brick wallGraduate Team:  Shari and Wella
About the Team:  Wella, a female black Lab, is Shari’s 4th Guiding Eyes guide dog
Location:  Tucson, Arizona
Training: November 2023 Home Training

Shari is a busy professional and philanthropist. She earned her master’s degree from the University of Arizona and has her own psycho-therapy practice. Shari co-authored the book: Way to Be – 40 Insights and Transformative Practices in the Heart of Being.  She leads and facilitates workshops and trainings based on this approach to growth and development. Shari practices yoga and has been an instructor for over 20 years.  She coordinates a youth program focused on leadership and social action. Shari has been a part of the Guiding Eyes family for a long time, having received her first guide 24 years ago. Her parents saw the value of Shari’s guide dogs and wanted to ensure Guiding Eyes graduates had the support necessary to care for the dogs that care for them. In 2020, they started the Gootter Vet Fund. The fund provides Guiding Eyes graduates with financial assistance and a vehicle for collaboration between the graduate’s local veterinarians and Guiding Eyes’ Vets. The fund helps cover veterinary costs for minor procedures and diagnostic work.  The goal of the fund is to support guide dog health and get them back to their important work.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Wella is sweet, easy going and very even tempered.  She is an excellent worker; sharp and attentive. Wella is petite compared to my previous guide dogs.  She gets along great with my retired guide Indy and our other dog”. 

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “Each of my guide dogs have been exceptional, so I keep coming back to Guiding Eyes. Each dog has exceeded my expectations. The quality of the dogs speaks volumes to the quality of the program. The staff, instructors and trainers are top notch!”  

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “I attribute my guide dogs with giving me the confidence to do things I otherwise would not do. They have enriched my life in so many ways. I like knowing I have a partner everywhere I go!  My dogs are in my sessions with me and my clients.  My clients look forward to seeing them, and the dogs have taken on a therapy role.”

Were there any training highlights? “I chose to train at home this time.  During our first day of training, Wella, my instructor and I went to a location I was not familiar with.  When we were leaving, I had forgotten we had gone up steps upon our arrival.  Wella remembered! When we got to the steps, Wella stopped at the top. She knew what to do. She nailed it!  At that moment I knew I could trust her.”

Meet Guide Dog Wella

DOB:  6/10/2021
Litter ID: 6W21
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Nadine
Stud: Odin
Littermates: Wilbur, Webster, Winslet, Wrangler, Whimsey, Waffle, Windy, Winsome
Region:  Cleveland East
Regional Puppy Instructor: Macy Nauman
Puppy Raiser:  Danielle Pahl
Facebook: Ohio Puppy Raisers

Photos of the Team…