Jessie Kramer of Cedar City was among the December 2017 class of graduates of Guiding Eyes for the Blind. The school’s residential program, based in Yorktown Heights, New York, pairs trained guide dogs bred and raised by the non-profit organization with participants who are blind or visual impaired. Kramer was one of 10 graduates this month.
Each member of the graduating class and their respective guide dogs received individualized training, working with expert trainers and instructors to learn to work together as a team. Classmates learned to navigate the many types of settings they will encounter upon returning home.
Born with cataracts in both eyes due to congenital rubella syndrome, Jessie’s approach to life is to “hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” The Nevada native is one of 12 siblings and taught early childhood special education and facilitated training of support staff for the Clark County School District in Las Vegas. Jessie, who is hearing impaired, had never worked with a guide dog before being paired with her female yellow Labrador Kasha. She says that through training she discovered that Kasha, her “worker bee,” is “better trained than I am. I can already tell I’m going to move a lot faster with her.”
Kasha will live with Jessie and her two cats. They can walk to many of the places they will need to go, including nearby family, a favorite coffee shop, and yoga where Kasha will have her own mat.
Guiding Eyes for the Blind is dedicated to creating and supporting life-changing connections between people and dogs. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides superbly bred and trained dogs to people who are blind or visually impaired. Their dogs are known for their exceptional temperaments and success at helping people gain independence and to expand their horizons of opportunity.