An eye for guiding
By Sarah Mackay
Samantha Schrantz might just have the best job ever.
It’s almost too good to be true as if a children’s fairy tale and yet, it’s real. Everyday Samantha wakes up and takes Gino to school and that’s just the beginning of their adventure. He sleeps under her desk until the bell rings and they walk to the next class. When students ask if they can pet Gino, Samantha gently asks them to refrain from distracting him while he works.
Gino also goes to yoga and practices his Downward Dog, to the Opera, which he’s particularly fond of, to the grocery store where he helps shop for food and wait there’s more… the bus and the park and the bakery too. The goal? To prepare Gino for an important job as a guide dog and the outcome is a very happy blind person who tosses their cane and a dog who gets a lot of adventure. Sound amazing? Well, it is and made a reality by Samantha, a seventeen year-old highly capable and responsible high school student who loves what she does or as she puts it, “I wouldn’t do something if I wasn’t passionate about it. I love guide dogs,” she said.
Samantha’s mother saw a budding talent for her daughter’s ability to train dogs, “My Mom is very kind and she wants to make sure everyone’s talents are used to their fullest, myself included. When I was in 2nd grade, we watched people’s puppies, I never forgot how much fun it was and decided to be a guide dog volunteer.”
Gino isn’t the only lucky dog who’s enjoyed this honor, Lambert, Samoa, Goliath, Spencer, and last, but not least Rickie. They arrive as puppies and leave as guides. Samantha does the rest, she trains the dogs and did I mention.. she’s talented at this.
Some guide dogs dedicate a year and others ten years it depends on their ability and enthusiasm. Regardless, Samantha has the knowledge she and the guide dogs are making a difference. She’s proud of her canine students guiding as she’s guided them.