News Archive

Guiding Eyes partners with Naz for monthly dog training on campus

Published March 15, 2023

by Kylee Ego-Walters '23

Storm — a 9-week-old black lab puppy — strutted through the Shults Forum with all eyes on him. His puppy raisers smiled on as the charismatic puppy made his way over to his Guiding Eyes for the Blind training group where he would begin his very own changemaking journey. 

Nazareth’s InterProfessional Animal-Assisted Wellness Collaborative, or IPAW, and IPAW Club are collaborating with the Monroe Region Guiding Eyes for the Blind group to bring training classes to campus. Guiding Eyes provides guide dogs to individuals with vision loss. The group holds once a month meetings, typically the first Tuesday evening of the month in the Shults Center Forum. Puppy raisers and dogs from all levels are welcome and campus students are encouraged to participate. 

Laura Poleshuck, Ph.D., clinical associate professor & clinical fieldwork coordinator in occupational  therapy, was the connecting branch between Guiding Eyes and Nazareth. Poleshuck was always interested in animal-assisted therapy and started raising a puppy when she was introduced to Guiding Eyes. That puppy, Orion, is now one of Nazareth’s on-campus therapy dogs. Orion started getting chronic ear infections and was released from the Guiding Eyes program but she has been a changemaker on campus as one of the faces of the IPAW Collaborative program at Nazareth. Poleshuck kept her relationship with Guiding Eyes and worked with the college to offer the group space on campus to hold their meetings. 

Marci Frutkoff, Monroe regional coordinator for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, explained the importance of the connection and the benefit of joining the Naz community. “It’s been great working with the college students and in this space. We hope to explore the building and campus more and work with different locations and crowd sizes.” 

Nazareth student Nishita Kumar ‘25, vice president of Nazareth's IPAW club, often goes to the Guiding Eyes meetings. “It’s really fun to interact with the puppies and be a part of their success as a guide dog,” said Kumar. “It’s also nice to learn simple and easy training techniques to use on my own dog at home.”

This is the fourth semester Guiding Eyes is meeting on campus and they are enjoying the help from Nazareth students. Meeting attendees observe training practices and may be asked to participate in different exercises like Dining in the Dark, where the goal is to simulate what it is like to be visually impaired and train the dogs in a meal setting. The group uses multiple accessibility and inclusion tactics like using person first language, practicing techniques with wheelchairs and crutches, and learning about other assistive devices. 

The once a month meetings are from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. on a Tuesday in the Forum. 


For More Information

Julie Long | Senior News & PR Officer | | (585) 389-2456 | (585) 781-8186 (cell)

Nazareth University is an inclusive community of inspired learners, educators, and changemakers who for nearly 100 years have been driven by a bold commitment to action, empathy, equity, and leading innovation for the common good. Impact experiences are at the heart of a Nazareth education, preparing each student to discover within themselves the potential to cultivate positive change in their life's work, in any career field, and in a world that is constantly evolving and infinitely interconnected.

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Storm (sitting) takes in his surroundings during a Guiding Eyes for the Blind training class at Nazareth recently.