Graduating Class #378

See graduates’ portraits with their guide dogs and read an update from a graduate!

Class 378 graduated on April 21, 2013!

We are proud to introduce Guide Dogs of America graduates, from left: Joy Wolf and Chicago; Chris Sirna and Rosie; Zoila Silbas and JoJo; Karen Lemmon and Sal; Peggy Kohler and Poet; John Vandervort and Chace; Sean Landgraf and Lexy; Dan Kysor and Harry; Ann Sylvia and Hope; and Brian Collins and Gibson. Class 378 instructors from left: Sean Chiles, Mindy Romero, and Steve Burkman.

Brian Collins and Gibson
Brian Collins & GibsonGibson was raised by GDA volunteers Harry and Nancy Steck.


Peggy Kohler and Poet
Peggy Kohler & PoetPoet was raised for GDA by Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar.


Dan Kysor and Harry
Dan Kysor & HarryHarry was raised by GDA volunteers the Semeleng Family.


Sean Landgraf and Lexy
Sean Landgraf & LexyLexy was raised by GDA volunteers the Shoup Family.


Karen Lemmon and Sal
Karen Lemmon & SalSal was raised by GDA volunteer and Westside Los Angeles Puppy Raiser Group Leader Glyn Judson.


Zoila Silbas and Jojo
Zoila Silbas & JojoJojo was raised by GDA volunteers Dave and Mary Brown.


Chris Sirna and Rosie
Chris Sirna & RosieRosie was raised by GDA volunteers Paul and Diane Niesen.


Ann Sylvia and Hope
Ann Sylvia & HopeHope was raised by GDA volunteer Lauren Amendola.


John Vandervort and Chace
John Vandervort & ChaceChace was raised by GDA volunteer Lori Montigel.


Joy Wolf and Chicago
Joy Wolf & ChicagChicago was raised by GDA volunteers the Carlton Family.

Guide Dogs of America Class 378 trainers recently received this update from Joy Wolf, who says that she and her new guide dog Chicago are doing fantastic.

“This little dog works hard, plays hard, and does everything with such enthusiasm, and I enjoy her every single day,” says Wolf. “One of the things I am learning is just how little really concerns or confuses her, for lack of a better way to put it. Chicago just wants to go, and she doesn’t much seem to care if it’s a route we take every day or a new area she’s never been to.”

Wolf shares that she was very anxious before arriving at Guide Dogs of America for the month-long training program. “One of the things I didn’t tell anyone, not even my family, is how much thought I had given to not returning for a guide after the early retirement of my former guide [from another program]. From the moment I arrived at GDA, despite my doubts, you guys all made me feel so much better. I just knew, just felt, that you were all going to do everything you could to get me the match I so desperately needed.”

Chicago, says Wolf, “with her happy confident attitude and constantly waving banner of a tail is restoring my own confidence, confidence I didn’t even know I had lost.

I am not hesitating when my kids want to go to the library or the park. I am once again exploring new places, without worrying about whether or not my dog and I will be able to handle these new areas. I truly don’t worry about how Chicago will handle things anywhere. I catch myself walking along, not really thinking about much of anything, just enjoying the sounds of the birds or the smell of the lilac bush in the yard down the street. I finally feel that freedom that I used to know!

Thank you so much for giving me this little dog who does her work as she was trained to do, but does so much more for me every day.”

-Joy and family


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