Parker, an adorable yellow Labrador retriever, started Spring Semester as an i.d. card-carrying member of the Chesapeake College community. Like many students at Chesapeake, Parker is preparing for a career. With a lot of hard work, he will someday be a Guiding Eyes for the Blind service dog. Click here for more
At just three months old, Parker is already the Big Man on Campus. When he visits the Learning Resource Center or Caroline College Center, conversations ceases and people look up from their electronics. Once the spring weather arrives, Parker is expected to hang out in the Quad between classes.
“He’s pretty popular. The Chesapeake students and employees have given him a warm welcome,” said his trainer Marilyn Evey of Easton, who is a Chesapeake student. “Everyone seems to enjoy seeing him on campus, but they’re all very respectful of the limits required for our training routine.”
The pair are serious about their training, with high behavioral expectations for Parker when he is in uniform. The dog is not be petted when he is wearing his training vest. It’s a challenge for most of the humans he encounters, but Parker is learning to be professional.
“It’s natural that people want to pet a friendly dog, but we ask that you wait until his vest is off,” Evey said. “When I can, I take him out his vest and let him play with people. He is still a puppy, after all.”
Alert and energetic, Parker already follows commands and keeps a close eye on Evey at all times. This is the second Guiding Eyes puppy that Evey has trained. She is a Career and Technical Studies major, so she comes to campus twice a week. In addition, she is using her work with Guiding Eyes for the Blind to complete a Cooperative Education Program requirement.
“A college campus is a great place for guide dog training, because he’ll be in a variety of settings throughout the day.”
In class, Evey takes at seat at the end of a row, so that Parker can lay quietly in the aisle. If the puppy becomes restless, Evey gently reminds him to be calm and rewards him with a training treat.