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Wendy and Charlene

Special Recognition: The training of Wendy and Charlene was sponsored by Cerberus Capital Management:

On behalf of the Cerberus team, a huge congratulations to Wendy and Charlene and the best of luck on your adventures together!


Meet Graduate Wendy

Wendy smiles sitting next to black Lab guide Charlene on a gray bench for team portraitGraduate Team: Wendy and Charlene
About the Team: Charlene is a female black Lab, and Wendy’s 1st guide dog
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Training: March 2023 On-Campus

Wendy was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up in Orlando, Florida. Wendy works with children who are blind or visually impaired, teaching elementary education in various New York City school districts. She was born with congenital cataracts and from an early age had vision only in her right eye. During her teenage years, glaucoma in the right eye further obstructed her vision. Wendy was inspired to assist others experiencing vision loss and obtained her bachelor’s degree in special education for the visually impaired from Florida State University. She went on to receive her master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. In her free time, she enjoys yoga and writing, and is currently working on a book for young adults. She loves dogs, and in particular, black lab Charlene, who is her first guide dog.  

How would you describe your guide dog? “Charlene is a beautiful black Labrador Retriever. I receive loads of compliments on her. She is very cute and energetic and is able to weave me in and out of pedestrian traffic in the city. She listens well to commands and is especially helpful as a left-hand lead.”  

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “My mom’s friend was a puppy raiser, and this was how I learned about guide dog schools. I also watched a movie about a puppy becoming a guide dog, which further persuaded me to pursue having one.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Waking up every morning with her has been helpful. Charlene gets me going because I need to walk, feed and provide care for her. Charlene is also a great companion. She enables me to get around easier and the public stigma sometimes associated with someone utilizing a cane is alleviated.”           

Were there any training highlights? “The training on campus was a great experience. There were five students in our class, and everyone was so nice. Each participant had a different level of visual function and acuity, and for the duration of the training, we had a sense of community, despite everyone being from a different area of the country. We still continue to communicate via text. I found the campus to be nice, and the food great. Chelsea, my instructor, did a great job working with Charlene. Guiding Eyes staff have even come out to Brooklyn since, to provide additional training going to and from my home and the school I am currently working at.”

Meet Guide Dog Charlene

DOB:  12/12/2020
Litter ID: 4C320
Color/Breed: Black/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Female
Brood: Adrienne
Stud: Dover
Littermates: Chris, Cayenne, Chaz, Caitlyn, Carson, Chevy, Catalina
Region:  Cleveland East
Regional Puppy Instructor: Macy Nauman
Puppy Raiser:  Wendy Lewis
Facebook: Ohio Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Charlene enjoyed exploring and trying new things. It was always a pleasure taking her to new experiences. There was a constant curiosity that even if she hesitated initially, didn’t last long. As a puppy, she moved fast without thinking and loved her time unleashed to run as fast as she could. I’ve loved my time with Charlene. She has taught me to be more flexible in my thinking and everyday habits. This has been my first experience living with a dog. I had a lot of fear of doing something wrong that would hinder her progress. I wondered if I could do this raiser thing for the full time commitment. Charlene and I both learned to be patient with each other. What a joy to see her continuing to progress. ~ Wendy Lewis, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…