Inspiring 815: Dennis Nelson - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Inspiring 815: Dennis Nelson

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

Honey is a 12 week old golden retriever and yellow lab mix, and she's training to be a guide dog.

"Basic training, so the sit, the stay, the down, around, We do recalls, which are very important for a blind person." said Dennis Nelson, a mentor with Leader Dogs for the Blind.

Honey is Dennis' 7th dog through 'Leader Dogs for the Blind', but getting started in the program wasn't actually his idea.

"It was quite by accident, my wife works in the Harlem School District and a couple of teachers there had leader dogs." said Nelson.

After seven years with the organization, Dennis is now a counselor for the eight other people training guide dogs in Rockford.

"Dennis is our counselor, and we meet once a month. We talk about any problems we're having with training the dogs, how they're doing, how they're weight is." said Harold Owens, a member of the group.

Owens has trained dogs for years as well, and he says Dennis super helpful within the group.

"He's excellent, he's willing to help with anything that needs to be done." said Owens.

The two have also become really good friends.

"We got out to eat a lot, we're just really really good friends. We've got a lot in common."  said Owens.

Though both Harold and Dennis say it can be heart wrenching to get rid of the dog after having them for over a year, they say it's worth it. 

"The big thing is, we give somebody kind of a new set of eyes. and mobility." said Nelson. 

Dennis Nelson, inspiring 815, one guide dog at a time. 

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