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Medaille Student Brittney Schechterly helps train labrador retriever for Guiding Eyes Program

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y -- Medaille College student Brittney Schechterly of Buffalo (14217) recently helped train a Labrador Retriever named "Alan" for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a nonprofit organization that provides trained dogs to people who are blind or visually impaired. Schechterly became involved in the program while a veterinary technology student at Medaille. "I loved dogs and wanted to do something that would positively impact others," she says.  

Before starting as a trainer, the process involved an interview and extensive pre-placement classes. Schechterly received Alan in December 2016 as a six-week-old puppy. Weekly and then monthly classes followed.

Finally, on March 18, 2018, Schechterly drove Alan to Yorktown Heights, NY, so he could begin training school. "I said goodbye, but stayed to watch his training test. The test lasts about 15 minutes and is held in front of a small audience and a panel of judges. Alan passed his test and impressed the judges so much that they put him on breed evaluation, which means he could be used as a stud to breed other future guide dogs."

Schechterly takes great pride in Alan's performance, and the role she played in his success: "No matter what career path he chooses, Alan has made me so proud. I look forward to hearing about his progress throughout the next few years."

One of Schechterly's professors at Medaille, Bernadette Clabeaux, Ph. D., says no one is better suited to be a trainer than Schechterly. "Brittney is an excellent student with a compassionate heart," Dr. Clabeaux says. "Her work with Guiding Eyes exemplifies her kindness. I had the privilege of watching Brittney practice her training skills with Alan and watched the connection between them grow over this year."