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judges 2011


Entry Category Guide & Hearing Dogs
Charity Partner The Seeing Eye
Location Salem, Massachusetts


Nola, my golden retriever Seeing Eye dog, proves she is a hero every day. She effortlessly and enthusiastically guides me through the busy streets of downtown Salem, MA, deftly navigating both heavy vehicle traffic as well as pedestrian traffic that clogs the streets during peak tourist times. She demonstrates an amazing ability to transfer that work ethic to others in a "larger than life" way that is unforgettable.

One day in heavy traffic, she moved forward when the traffic light signaled it was clear, only to find that one of the cars had stopped across the crosswalk, blocking the entire area. Nola only paused in her work for a second, just long enough to go up to the driver's window and give the driver a "we don't do things that way" look then, she skillfully maneuvered me behind the car and safely across the intersection. It's the first time in 27 years of guide dog handling that I've ever seen a person being corrected by a dog.

Nola has the ability to make everything an adventure and everyone with whom she comes in contact feels special, included and loved in her world. When I am working in a counseling capacity as part of my occupation she often employs the ministry of "presence" and comforts those in distress by leaning against them and putting her head on their laps as if to say, "it's ok. I'm here for you."

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