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Weronika and Reggae

Meet Graduate Weronika

Weronika happily sits with black lab guide dog Reggae in at edge of a garden

Graduate Team:  Weronika and Reggae
About the Team:  Reggae, a male black Lab, is Weronika’s 2nd Guiding Eyes dog
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Training: July 2023 Home Training 

Weronika graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa with a degree in sociology. She works for the Canadian Transportation Agency reviewing webpages and documents for accessibility. Weronika also serves on a variety of committees ensuring employee wellness and a healthy work environment. She joined the Guiding Eyes family when she got her first guide dog, Tommy, in 2011. Weronika’s parents are originally from Poland, and she often travels to Europe, making the trip 3 times with Tommy. In addition to her interest in travel, Weronika plays piano and is currently taking ballroom dancing lessons. She is adventurous as well as active, and enjoys horseback riding, downhill skiing, and swimming.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Reggae is smart and has an adorable personality! We quickly formed a strong bond. The day after Reggae arrived, my mother observed him looking at me and making eye contact. It was a very touching, bonding moment. He is attached to me and always stays close by. We can read each other well.  He and I comfortably walk together at a shared pace. When he is not working, Reggae is a typical retriever and loves to play with a tennis ball!”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “Prior to getting my first guide dog, Tommy, I applied to a few guide dog schools. I was impressed by the excellent ‘customer service’ and responsiveness of Guiding Eyes. I had such a positive experience with Guiding Eyes throughout the years I worked with Tommy, it was only natural to return to Guiding Eyes for my next guide dog. I have found Guiding Eyes to be both supportive and reliable.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “With my guide dog I can walk with speed, comfort and confidence.  I am less anxious crossing streets.  In general, it is easier to navigate a wide variety of situations. Aside from guiding me, there is a secondary benefit to my mental health as well.  Reggae is a trusted companion and people are interested in learning about Reggae, so therefore engage with me more. I enjoy the social interaction.”

Were there any training highlights? “I chose to train at home with Reggae.  Home training was more conducive to my work schedule and allowed Reggae and I to immediately get to work on my routes and transportation. He acclimated quickly! After just one visit to the bus shelter, Reggae knew the bus stop and went right to it the next time I needed to ride the bus. Reggae is also very considerate.  At a trip to the mall, he carefully paused in front of each store, waiting to see if I wanted to go in.  I appreciated the opportunity to be in control and the time to make decisions.

Meet Guide Dog Reggae

DOB:  11/19/2020
Litter ID: 8RR20
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Male
Brood: Nimble
Stud: Kisco
Littermates: Ronnie, Ruby, Reese, Randy
Region:  Richmond VA
Regional Puppy Instructor: Jodi Haveles, Madeline Bruggeman
Puppy Raiser:  Laura Ripol, Kim Harrison, Eva Klenner
Facebook: Richmond Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raisers…

Our family nicknamed Reggae “Ferdinand” for his soft heart and strong body. He was quick to learn, loyal, with a ready smile matching his happy go lucky nature. Bringing in the newspaper every morning from the time he was 9 weeks old, tunneling through hollow trees or box mazes, playing games, traveling for track and swim meets, vacations, boat rides, or simply grocery shopping and snuggling, Reggae was happy doing everything with us. Don’t be surprised if people compliment him frequently: it happened everywhere we went, sometimes multiple times … even people driving by would roll down windows to say what a well behaved and good looking boy he was! I’m thrilled Reggae can share his loving heart and joie de vivre with you! ~ Laura Ripol, Puppy Raiser

Reggae would have made Bob Marley proud. He is a laid back dude with a heart full of sunshine. He was a testy adolescent and trouble came easy to him, but who can help but love this four legged bundle of joy. He is mischievous without even trying and smart and happy to engage wherever and whatever, as long as he is with you.  ~ Eva Klenner, Puppy Raisers

Photos of the Team…