Training to serve
by Anne Marie Fuller
Nov 08, 2013 | 11055 views | 1 1 comments | 469 469 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Megan Harrison, a senior at Tracy High School, rewards Jessilou, a guide dog in training, for following a command at school Monday, Nov. 4. The 13-month-old yellow Labrador retriever has accompanied Harrison to school since the fall of 2012.  Anne Marie Fuller/For the Tracy Press
Megan Harrison, a senior at Tracy High School, rewards Jessilou, a guide dog in training, for following a command at school Monday, Nov. 4. The 13-month-old yellow Labrador retriever has accompanied Harrison to school since the fall of 2012. Anne Marie Fuller/For the Tracy Press
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Megan Harrison, a senior at Tracy High School, rewards Jessilou, a guide dog in training, while sophomores Lindsay Welles and Jenay Sanchez pet the dog during an advanced drama class Monday, Nov. 4 at Tracy High. The 13-month-old yellow Labrador retriever has accompanied Harrison to school since the fall of 2012.  Anne Marie Fuller/For the Tracy Press
Megan Harrison, a senior at Tracy High School, rewards Jessilou, a guide dog in training, while sophomores Lindsay Welles and Jenay Sanchez pet the dog during an advanced drama class Monday, Nov. 4 at Tracy High. The 13-month-old yellow Labrador retriever has accompanied Harrison to school since the fall of 2012. Anne Marie Fuller/For the Tracy Press
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Megan Harrison, 17, is making her senior project for the Agricultural-Scientific Academy at Tracy High School a gift for someone deserving in the community.

Since November 2012, Harrison has been raising a yellow Labrador retriever named Jessilou for Guide Dogs for the Blind Bright Eyes Club.

“I started this as a way to help someone else and give back to the community,” Harrison said. “This has been a life-changing experience for me. I am planning to continue doing this long after I finish training Jessilou.”

Harrison received the dog from Guide Dogs for the Blind Bright Eyes Club a year ago. She has helped train Jessilou in house manners, socialization and basic obedience skills.

She takes the big lab with her when running simple errands, to public events and on group field trips with other guide dogs in training.

Jessilou has even become part of the everyday scene at Tracy High.

“At first, I didn’t know why there was a dog at school with us,” said Lindsay Welles, 15, a THS sophomore. “I realized Megan was doing this as a way to help in the community, and that’s inspirational. I think it’s cute how she talks to the dog.”

Fellow sophomore Jenay Sanchez, 15, is glad to have Jessilou on campus.

“I think it’s cool that Megan is able to train the dog and bring her to school,” she said. “It brings lots of energy to the class.”

Before the dog was placed with Harrison, she had to attend several meetings through Guide Dogs for the Blind and babysit a dog that was already in training.

In a few months, Harrison will return Jessilou to the organization. The dog will continue on with advanced training to learn how to stop at curbs and lead people who are visually impaired.

“Most people are extremely accepting of the dog when they see her out in public,” Harrison said. “Kids can get really excited to see her and they usually have lots of questions. Guide Dogs for the Blind is helping provide a great service for someone.”

After high school, Harrison is planning a career as a biomedical engineer.

For information about Guide Dogs for the Blind Bright Eyes Club, call Linda Rubio at 835-3922.

• Contact the Tracy Press newsroom at 835-3030 or tpnews@tracypress.com.

 
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nabartalotti
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January 22, 2014
Wow!! great job!! If you're looking to continue your education in animal behavior you should look into ABC. Animal Behavior College is a great school and you can take your classes online, then you get hands on work with a certified trainer. On top of that you give back to the community through Students Saving lives. You to 10 volunteer hours at shelters where you help train the dogs to make them more adoptable! I am currently a student and I love it!!


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