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Victoria and York

Meet Graduate Victoria

Victoria sits with black Lab guide dog at her shoulder, for their team portraitGraduate Team: Victoria and York
About the Team: York, a male black Lab, is Victoria’s 1st guide dog
Location:  Watertown, Massachusetts
Training: March 2023 On-Campus

Victoria, her guide dog, York, and her boyfriend, live to the west of the city of Boston. She works for a rehabilitation camp in New York State and has hopes of someday returning to school to become a teacher. Victoria has three siblings in New York that she sees frequently when traveling back and forth for work. York enjoys playing with Guiding Eyes guide dog Acadia, who graduated with Victoria’s sister Christina only a month earlier. Even when she is not commuting, Victoria is an active traveler and enjoys going anywhere and everywhere. She’s looking forward to an upcoming journey to Canada by train with York, as well as a cruise for guide dog users next year. She also has hopes of heading overseas in the winter to visit Italy.

How would you describe your guide dog? “York has a lot of personality. He’s very empathetic and so happy in the mornings. He does this weird thing every morning when we wake up, getting out of his bed, running into the hallway, rolling back and forth on his back hitting the wall. He’s very expressive with noise, especially with his little grumbles in the morning. He’s very into physical touch and loves butt scratches. He’s very happy and so silly! One of his favorite things is floor time and he’ll come over and nudge me until I sit on the floor with him. He burrows his head in my stomach with his butt in the air, makes a few circles and then lies down. He’s a good boy.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I was actually going to apply to three different schools, but I knew someone who has a dog from Guiding Eyes. I made it halfway through the application, for another school but Guiding Eyes looked a lot like what I wanted. I didn’t really want a home training, where they’d bring a dog to me and come back the next morning. I’ve never had a dog or ever been responsible for one. I wanted plenty of support before I came home.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life?  “I work with him every single day, but I didn’t necessarily use my cane every day. I feel so much safer and more excited to go outside because he’s so excited to go out; and with a dog, we have to go outside. After I received York, I discovered there’s a long trail alongside my house, and now we go for really long walks together.”

Were there any training highlights?  “The most remarkable thing that happened, was during our training trip to NYC. During our walk, the whole street was blocked off for construction and I told him to find the curb. Instead of finding the curb while crossing the street, he analyzed the situation first and walked around all the construction to get to the path we needed. It would have taken me a lot longer to fully assess the situation and find the path. He was so good. He just said ‘nope, we’re going this way!’ and off we went. That was the moment I realized I can trust him because he’s so smart and he knows what he’s doing.”

Meet Guide Dog York

DOB:  11/19/2020
Litter ID: 7YY20
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Male
Brood: Roz
Stud: Dasher
Littermates: Yoda, Yosemite, Yolanda, Yamaha, Yardley
Region:  Monroe NY, Erie NY
Regional Puppy Instructor: MeKalea Chambliss, Cassie Houghton
Puppy Raiser:  Linda Marino, Barb McCabe
Facebook: Monroe NY Puppy Raisers
Facebook: Erie NY Puppy Raisers

Photos of the Team…