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William and Betsy

Thank you to our generous June Graduate Sponsors…

“Congratulations to the June graduating class and guide teams.  Healthy Vision Association is  proud to support Guiding Eyes and all the great work you do.”

Healthy Vision Association Charity Fund

“We celebrate all of the graduates this day. We appreciate all of your perseverance to arrive at this point in your journey with Guiding Eyes. We dedicate our shared sponsorship of this particular graduation to the memory of Kate Fanti. She was an enthusiastic Guiding Eyes volunteer who brought the understanding of the important mission of Guiding Eyes to WCDNF. She brought Omar to a club meeting. We miss her and we believe that her giving, friendly manner helped with the preparation of the Guiding Eyes puppies.  She often shared photos and anecdotes about her very special puppies at club meetings.” 

Women’s Club Danbury/New Fairfield

Meet June Residential Training Graduate William

Partners Bill and Betsy show a loving connection during trainingGraduate Team: William and Betsy
About the Team: Betsy, a female yellow Lab, is Bill’s 1st guide dog
Hometown: Eaton, Colorado
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor: Alyssa David

Bill, a widower and father of six adult children, moved from Washington State two years ago. He previously worked as a logger and a welder, until an industrial accident robbed him of his sight. Now in retirement, he enjoys whittling figurines to sell at charity auctions. He loves outdoor activities with members of his large family, such as hiking, camping and fishing.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Betsy is full of energy and loves to run around the yard, playing with my family and me, especially running through the sprinkler and tug of war. She really enjoys a whole-body massage and loves to be groomed! She loves to work; she’s eager to get into harness and to please and is easy-going and relaxed. She’s stays right by me and is very loyal. I trust her beyond words. She understands how to do her job well and saved me the other day from a reversing electric vehicle I was unaware of. When my wife passed away two years ago I lost my best friend. I wasn’t ready for a guide, but now I am, and I have another best friend.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog at Guiding Eyes? “I liked that there is support near me. A Regional Guide Dog Mobility Instructor could provide support after getting a guide dog home, unlike some other schools. Everything I’d ever read about Guiding Eyes was so positive. I always felt so welcomed when talking to folks. I was a person, not a handicapped individual. You get help on anything you need to fill out, or someone will get you the help you need. I’d like to thank Alyssa, Dan, Guiding Eyes staff, Betsy’s puppy raiser, donors and sponsors, for making me feel so welcome and for providing me with such a blessing.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “The matching of Betsy and I has been so good. She’s given me a greater sense of purpose; she looks after me and I look after her. We take care of each other. She helps me get around more safely, including at night, and finds me an empty chair when I attend appointments, but she’s also my friend and companion. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly and easily she accepted my family.”

Were there any training highlights? “We went to a town that Betsy had never been to before and I could totally feel her working in harness, even though it was an unfamiliar place. We really connected that day as she took total control.”

Meet Guide Dog Betsy

Betsy was an exuberant, curious pup who seemed confident in any situation. It was rewarding to teach her new skills because she learned quickly and easily grasped what was expected. She liked to visit the livestock at a nearby farm and would respectfully touch noses with sheep and horses and remain calm. Once we encountered a doe and her fawn in the woods near my house, just a few yards away. I was so impressed with Betsy as she quietly stayed by my side, watching intently. We loved hiking in the woods together, and Betsy was especially fond of exploring marinas. She would boldly trot down the ramps to the docks and gaze into the water. I am so grateful for the support I received from our regional team and community, and I wish Betsy and her new partner Bill all the best as they embark upon their new life together.

Gail Buxton, Puppy Raiser of Betsy

Enjoy these photos of the team and Betsy as a pup on program…