Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We've Got Mail: 2-week Class is a Hit!

Here's a letter we received from one of our students, Sylvia Munoz, sharing her enthusiasm for our new 2-week class training program.

Good Morning,

What an incredible two weeks it has been! So different from when I last was here. I do like the new training schedule and the new training techniques - the food rewards and the clicker training.

Sylvia Munoz and her new Guide Dog, Nina
I want you to know that the team of three instructors that we worked with were and are incredible. They definitely know their job and the camaraderie that they shared amongst themselves was great. As you know, being away from home and sharing anytime with people you do not know can be stressful. Pat, Vanessa, and Melissa made it a positive and less stressful experience. I did not experience this last time I was here nine years ago.

I mostly worked with Pat Kelly and think he is a fabulous instructor. He is patient, easy-going, humorous, but yet gives great input and suggestions. He matched me with a great dog. I had requested a male yellow lab because that is what I had twice before and that is what had worked for me. When Pat and Vanessa called me a week-and-a-half before training and asked whether I would consider a female or another color of lab, I told them that I really had three requirements and beyond that, I would leave it in their hands. I needed a short-haired dog, a fast walker--my last dog was a cruiser--and I needed a smaller dog because I do a lot of traveling. And, with that, I got Nina. She is the first guide I have worked that I feel like we have worked together for months already.

Please keep up the high standards for trainers. I look forward to returning to Guide Dogs in ten years.


Sylvia Munoz


  1. I am also a graduate from the 2-week program, and am a big fan of it.

    Lars is my second dog, and although the training time in Oregan was half of what I experienced my first go-around, I felt that the 2 weeks was enough time to become comfortable working with the new dog.

  2. I worked with Pat Kelly and Vanessa while I was in training, and definitely I agree with both the comment about banter and knowledge when it comes to the way the team worked. I was in a four-week class, and I have reservations about the 2 week program, but if the instructors could still teach it all in such a short time, then I suppose that's all that counts. Without Pat and Vanessa I would not have gotten the wonderful dog I got as my first-time guide, nor would I have overcome those first-time trepedations.

    On a humorous note, Pat Kelly trained my dog and I credit him with all her misbehaviour. Hahaha.