MEET GUIDE DOG CLASS 293
Congratulations graduates of Class 293! Woo hoo! You did it! As you’ve learned, our guide dogs are no ordinary dogs. They are amazing, unique, and loving companions! Some of you are just beginning to experience newfound freedom. Others can’t imagine life without a guiding light by your side.
Class 293 is made up of graduates who trained and stayed at our world-class campus and alumni who opted for our in-home training. We welcome newcomers to the Southeastern Guide Dogs family and thank returning graduates for choosing us again! Enjoy your new best friend!
Justin Davis loves fishing. It brings him peace and solace. But don’t ask him how to catch a snook, because he won’t share his secret! Justin lost his vision to diabetic retinopathy 15 years ago. After 25 eye surgeries in three years, Justin left his job and moved to a place near the water. He’s thrilledto be matched with a sweet, friendly Lab named RC, an incredibly smart dog who takes his guiding job seriously. But as soon as his harness is off, RC loves a good back scratch and does a little wiggly dance to show his appreciation. Justin plans to take RC fishing and share with him—and only him—the secret to catching a snook.
Glenn Dooley counted on his vision while serving in the U.S. Army and later as a truck driver. Glaucoma gradually robbed him of his eyesight, and Glenn was declared legally blind. He managed on his own as long as possible. But after his falls became more frequent, he applied for a guide dog and was matched with a friendly black Lab named Joey. Joey loves to guide and loves to find chairs! In fact, whenever she’s asked to find one, she enthusiastically puts her chin on it and waits for her treat. With Joey by his side, Glenn will always have a lifetime companion, a safe walking partner, and a comfortable place to sit!
During his 25 years in law enforcement, Randy England’s work required attention to detail. He was the division commander over a homicide unit, a police sniper, and worked with the FBI. Then optical nerve neuropathy took away his ability to see small features. Randy was a first responder but the last one to ask for help. We found the perfect partner for this retired officer: a big, lovable Lab named Harold. Harold is a smart boy with a big personality who keeps those around him smiling and laughing. Randy devoted his life to protect and to serve, and now he can relax knowing Harold has his back.
Christina May-Brooks proudly admits she has a thousand hobbies. Legally blind since birth, Christina never viewed her vision loss as a hindrance. After complications from a surgery robbed her of what little eyesight she had left, Christina got her first Southeastern guide dog, Emma. When Emma retired, she applied for her second guide but worried she might not bond with another dog. Then a lovable goldador named Millie changed her mind. Millie is a sweet, affectionate girl who never passes up the opportunity for a belly rub. Her fancy tail just wags and wags, calling for one! Christina eagerly gives Millie all the love she asks for and more. She looks forward to introducing her new guide to rocket launching, stargazing, and every single one of her 998 other hobbies!
Tillman is London Pickett’s third Southeastern guide dog. This stately yellow Lab definitely measures up to his beloved predecessors, Dolly and Buster. Having lost her vision to retinitis pigmentosa, London is grateful for how each guide dog has changed her life. She calls Tillman “Liquid Gold” because the freedom he offers her is priceless. Tillman’s name honors Army Ranger Pat Tillman, a football hero who was killed in Afghanistan, fighting for freedom, and
London is certain Tillman is destined to honor the hero for whom he is named. This sweet dog excels at his work and leads with confidence. When he’s off-the-clock, Tillman is happy, friendly, and playful. London can’t wait to resume her speaking engagements to inspire others and show how much Tillman inspires her.
Anita Brown was born legally blind from glaucoma and cataracts, and over the years, her vision worsened until she had no sight at all. Working and raising a daughter consumed Anita’s attention, so at first, she wasn’t ready for a guide dog. When she changed her mind, she was matched with her first guide dog, Mollie. After Mollie retired, Anita turned to us again and was matched with a precious yellow Lab named Julia. Anita’s greatest fear was navigating stairs, but not anymore because Julia expertly guides her down each step. With Julia’s help, Anita looks forward to shopping, visit friends, and going back to church again. When Julia’s not working, this sweet dog excels at relaxation. Sometimes she can be silly and likes to bounce with all four feet in the air and make everyone laugh.
Debbie Hazelton lives to help other people, but also understands the importance of accepting assistance. Born with retinopathy of prematurity, Debbie’s life began in the dark. By the time she was a teenager, her eyes were in so much pain from atrophy that they were removed and replaced with prosthetics. Instead of mourning the loss, Debbie found light with her guide dogs by her side. Frannie is her fifth guide from Southeastern Guide Dogs. This lovable yellow Lab is a champion swimmer and likes to dip her head in and out of the water like an otter. Frannie’s trainers gave her the nickname “Mrs. Kravitz” after the nosey neighbor in the TV sitcom “Bewitched” because she’s so inquisitive. And it’s sure to come in handy as this pair explores new parks and paths around their town.
Marty Bailey works in the State Department’s Wounded Warrior recruitment program, where disabled veterans are matched with government jobs. It’s a world he knows well. In 2011, Marty was on a job with the Department of Defense in Afghanistan when he was blinded by a grenade explosion. Marty’s newest office mate is his third guide dog, Danny, an eager little black Lab with big paws to fill, and he’s doing a fabulous job! When Danny’s harness goes on, he is all business and has a work ethic of the highest standard. He’s a fast walker and confident navigator, which perfectly matches Marty’s quick-paced life. But when it is time to relax, you can bet Danny is first in line for a good snuggle!
Becky Redden likes to stay busy with sports and hobbies. She was born with Laurence-Moon Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes vision loss and developmental disabilities. She was declared legally blind at age 19 and knows the world is a better place with a guide dog by her side. After retiring her last guide, Becky was matched with a happy black Lab named Max, a very smart boy. Every time he completes a task, not only does his tail wag, but half his body wags too! He keeps everyone smiling with his sweet demeanor and silliness.
Congratulations, Class 293, and welcome to the Southeastern Guide Dogs family! We appreciate our trainers, puppy raisers, sponsors, donors, and volunteers, who join us in wishing these graduates success in everything they pursue.
Guide dogs are a lifeline to freedom and hope. They are best friends and secret keepers. They are givers of hugs and endless affection. They help people find the confidence they need to live their best life now. These dogs are family.
The waiting list for one of our dogs is growing, and your support today will change the world for someone who is hoping for a dog of their own. You can make a difference—donate now.