On Monday evening, Wrangler and I attended the Guiding Eyes Golf Classic Sponsor Recognition Party. The event thanks Guiding Eyes’ major supporters and promotes our upcoming golf outing.
The Guiding Eyes Golf Classic is held on June 7 & 8 in Mount Kisco, NY and Greenwich, CT. Day one consists of the Corcoran Cup, considered the master’s invitational of the United States Blind Golf Association. The second day is a more traditional fundraising golf outing, though ours is unique for several reasons: NY Giants QB Eli Manning returns to host the event for the ninth year, our guide dogs and pups visit golfers on the course and the USBGA players and coaches offer sighted golfers the chance to hit balls blindfolded.
Wrangler started out the night saying hello to all the attendees. As the TODAY puppy, he gets to meet people all the time and practices his “polite people greetings” frequently. Consequently, saying hello to all the Guiding Eyes supporters was a breeze – he even doled out a few kisses!
Though people greetings are very familiar to Wrangler, the event was held in a restaurant and tables overflowing with food were dispersed throughout. These created an added challenge and Wrangler did a great job not “counter surfing” when walking past the food.
The biggest test of the night for Wrangler was the level of dog distraction in the room. Everywhere he turned in the restaurant there was a working guide dog, dogs in training or little puppies. Wrangler was frequently asked to settle while in close proximity to one of these dogs – a difficult task for a dog much older than him. Wrangler did very well and stayed calm around the dogs in his path.
He particularly enjoyed a brief hello to yellow Labrador London, guide dog for a young woman named Emilie. Emilie lives in Manhattan and works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is Deaf-Blind yet she is able to travel independently throughout the city with London by her side.
After all the guests had their pictures taken with Eli Manning, it was Wrangler’s turn. Wrangler poses with lots of celebrities in the Orange Room, but usually there aren’t a bunch of other future service dogs and puppies crowding around with him. He did a great job maintaining a “sit-stay” – even with the other dogs around. (Although, after the picture he may have leaned over and given future autism service dog Helen a big lick.)
There was even more excitement after the event as eight-week-old yellow Lab puppies Otis and Omni stayed at our house for a sleepover! Wrangler had a great time running around and playing with the two puppies – and showed me that he can interact nicely with smaller, younger dogs.
The Guiding Eyes Golf Classic is our organization’s largest annual fundraiser, and both Eli Manning and Wrangler will be there on June 8th! Just a few foursome spots remain; learn how you can join us at www.guidingeyes.org/golf.
by volunteer puppy raiser and staff member Saxon Eastman