On Thursday, July 4th, Steve Vandermey, a resident of New Westminster, graduated as a Guide Dog team with his new canine partner, Kinta! The pair completed their training after three weeks of working with Mobility Guide Dog Instructor Nick Toni and Apprentice Instructor Kelsi Manton.
BC & Alberta Guide Dogs breeds, raises and trains Guide Dogs that are provided to individuals who are blind or visually-impaired. These certified Guide Dogs are provided, along with training and aftercare support, at no cost to recipients for the working life of the dog, typically 8 years. The organization relies on donations from generous sponsors to provide these essential services.
To a person who is blind, a Guide Dog means greater mobility, safe travel and the confidence to explore their surroundings in a way that may not have otherwise been possible.
As Steve Vandermey says, “I heard about BC & Alberta Guide Dogs through my peers from the Eclipse Blind Hockey Team. I hope to increase my mobility safely in the future and get out and about more!”
The graduation took place immediately following a final assessment from CEO Bill Thornton.
“After the 3 weeks of intensive training with our Mobility Guide Dog Instructors, I observed the team working together to see that they exceeded the standards set by the International Guide Dog Federation,” says Bill Thornton, CEO of BC & Alberta Guide Dogs. “There’s a tremendous amount of hard work to get to this point, so I’d like to extend heartfelt congratulations to everyone involved.”