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William and Caper

Meet Home Training Graduate William

Graduate Team:  William and Caper
About the Team:  Caper, a female black Lab, is Bill’s 7th Guiding Eyes dog
Hometown:  Lakewood, Colorado
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor:  Melissa Smith

Bill moved to Colorado in 1979 after earning his bachelors in Religious Studies from Furman University in South Carolina, and a masters in Pastoral Counseling from Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University. He retired from the State of Colorado after a 20 year career as a Project Manager. His hobbies include listening to and performing music. Bill especially loves 60’s and 70’s rock music and has a special affinity for “The Beatles”.  Besides guide dog Caper, he has other family dogs and is very interested in canine development and related behaviors. In past years he enjoyed working in clay, creating hand made pottery. Bill enjoys spending time with wife Vicki and proudly states he has four stepdaughters and eight grandchilden.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Caper is energetic, affectionate and she likes to work. Our neighborhood presents particular challenges because the sidewalks are irregular, however Caper is very helpful. She gets along very well with our other dogs in the house and she is a very nice dog.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I have had six guide dogs prior to Caper, all from Guiding Eyes. The staffmembers at the school are all easy to work with and very welcoming. They provide top notch dogs.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “Because of my vision loss and the jobs I’ve had, and places I’ve lived, it would have been very difficult to rely on a cane and the help of others. Caper provides me with a significantly strong sense of security. She bonded with me quickly and has become a good conversation starter, as the public is especially attracted to her when she is not working.”

Were there any training highlights?  “Guiding Eyes trained Caper with me in my home. It was a huge advantage because I live out in the suburbs. In the past, my training with Guiding Eyes occurred in a more urban setting including public transportation and crowded buildings, but my work status and living situation was different then; that’s not what I currently need. In addition, home training fit my situation better because of my age and health.”

Meet Guide Dog Caper

If I had to pick one word to describe Caper, it would be the word “charming”. She quite simply delights and enchants everyone she comes into contact with. I believe Caper really began her guide work in the early dark days of the pandemic. She had just turned one year old. The whole world was cloaked in fear, confusion and anxiety. Not so Caper. Her joie de vivre was tireless and more importantly contagious. She guided me right through those isolated days with her happiness and enthusiasm and I am grateful. She will always have a special place in my heart. I have no doubt that she will bring her new partner, Bill, every bit of the love and help she gave me and much more. God speed and best wishes to you both on your journey together.

Ann Courembis, Puppy Raiser of Caper

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