Meet JeanAnn and guide dog Sarge
As JeanAnn’s vision loss from macular degeneration stopped her from being her husband’s navigator on their many RV travels; as it panicked her after being separated from him in the Copenhagen airport; as it unnerved her while trying to navigate confusing hospital hallways during her husband’s surgery back home in Gainesville, Georgia, she felt discouraged and afraid. Determined to gain back her independence, she came to Southeastern Guide Dogs for her first guide dog Sarge, a sweet, laid-back black Labrador.
As a child, JeanAnn’s father served as a captain at Picatinney Arsenal during World War II, and her family’s pet Duke was one of the first dogs used to train soldiers to grow the Army K-9 Corps. Duke helped train other scout and patrol dogs by day, and loved the family by night.
“Duke would be picked up in a side car in a motorcycle and taken to the base. He was taught everything but “attack” in English, German, and with hand signals. They would bring him home every night. I remember trying to teach Duke how to salute,” JeanAnn recalls.
When JeanAnn learned that her guide dog was named Sarge, he brought her life full circle as a reminder of that special military dog. “I already feel safer with Sarge,” she says.
“I’m the third generation to lose my vision to macular degeneration, and its about three years underway. Since I got Sarge, I’m having fun and laughing again. I’m just so excited about him because I can take public transportation and my husband won’t be concerned about safety and I won’t be concerned about safety. And Sarge will help me face large crowds. My husband has season tickets to the Masters but I’ve been afraid; now I’ll be able to go in large crowds.”
JeanAnn Miller and guide dog Sarge, Gainesville, Georgia