Meet Guide Dog Class #255 and the Superheroes at their Sides

Guide Dog Class 255

(L to R): Rachel Weeks and guide Plum, Trainer Kayla Cook, Dwayne Cole and guide Sandy, Terrence Boyle and guide Joe, Trainer Karin Watson, Brian Williamson and guide Karl, Roland Brault, Jr. and guide Ginny, Trainer Megan Nystrom, Ewa Nowakowski and guide King, Thomas “Keith” Watson and guide Buddy, Jamie Crowell and guide Carol, Les Demers and guide Sal, Trainer Katie Perez, Edward Torres and guide Oakley, Trainer Jennifer Johnson

Congratulations to our newest graduating class and the wonder-dogs at their sides. These 11 inspiring individuals graduated Friday, April 21, and left for home with their new best friends.

  • Rachel Weeks has been training for a marathon and an Ironman triathalon, while her “dainty and chill” black Labrador, Plum, has been training to be her guide. Now that they’re working together, this single mom from Lakewood Ranch, Florida has a partner she can trust.
  • Dwayne Cole of Ocala, Florida, experienced sudden vision loss, and now his confidence is rising with his first guide, Sandy, at his side. This gentle, watchful black Lab is just what Dwayne needs to get back on his feet and back to work.
  • When his beloved 17-year-old dog passed away, Terrence Boyle needed to grieve for a while before applying for a guide dog. Now, a confident black Lab named Joe, his first guide, offers affection and independence as together they explore downtown Thomasville, Georgia.
  • In anticipation of receiving his first guide dog, Karl, Navy veteran Brian Williamson of Orlando, Florida, moved to a new home just for its proximity to walking trails, the VA, and Publix. His smart black goldador loves to walk!
  • With his first guide dog, a smart black Lab named Ginny, Vietnam veteran Roland Brault of Berlin, New Hampshire and Lakeland, Florida, is excited to resume tent camping and hiking. This team will also volunteer together through Toys for Tots, the Marine Corps Honor Guard, and scholarship fundraisers. Go, Ginny and Roland!
  • Ewa Nowakowski’s second guide dog King is just what this opera singer hoped for. A native of Poland, Ewa and this handsome black Lab now make their home in Riverview, Florida, with plans to soon travel together to New York.
  • A fast, playful, and “joyous” yellow Lab named Buddy is helping Keith Watson of Temple Terrace, Florida, pick up the pace again. Keith loves to walk, and his third guide is ready to go.
  • For Jamie Crowell, her third guide Carol leads the way at work back in Charlotte, North Carolina, and when the workday’s done, it’s off to the gym for this active pair. Carol is a calm black Lab and is “exactly what I need right now,” says Jamie.
  • A handsome, lovable yellow Lab named Sal is just the ticket for Les Demers of Sun City Center, Florida. This retired engineer is ready for greater independence, and Sal is ready for anything!
  • Eddie Torres of Sanford, Florida, waited a few years to apply for his first guide, wondering whether his cane was a safer navigation tool. “Something told me—it’s time—and I just thank God that I came because I love it!” he says about working with Oakley, the super-smart goldador at his side.
Posted on April 26, 2017 | Category: Blog