Congratulations to GDB's newest qualified Guide Dog Mobility Instructor, Megan Dodder. Megan recently completed her GDB apprenticeship, an intensive three-year course of study that includes academic coursework as well as hands-on experience.
Megan is from Muscatine, Iowa, and now lives in Southeast Portland with her partner, Nathan, and their 13-year-old rescue dog, Tikka. Prior to coming to GDB, Megan had a very diverse and interesting education and background. She holds a bachelor's degree in commercial music from Millikin University, as well as a master's degree in vocal performance from the University of Iowa. She went on to be a professional opera singer, and has been known to put her musical talents to use at GDB where she has written and performed original songs to accompany various activities and projects.
As far as animals go, Megan has volunteered at animal shelters, primarily working with dogs, throughout her life. She fostered pit bulls at Manhattan Animal Care and Control (MACC), and is a current foster care volunteer for Old Dog Haven in Lake Stevens, Wash. She even created her own dog walking/pet boarding/basic obedience training business called “Pups sur la Promenade” in Queens, New York.
Megan's career brought her to Guide Dogs for the Blind, because as she says, "I reached a point in my life where I wanted to dedicate my time, skills, and career path to enriching the lives of others and experiencing a deeper sense of community. It is an honor to connect with and learn from such diverse and complex beings, both people and dogs every single day!"
She enjoys so many aspects to GDB's mission, but in particular, "I absolutely love that we provide our services at no cost to our clients and how comprehensive our follow-up program is," she says. "I also appreciate GDB’s positive reinforcement training philosophy that creates guide dogs that have the desire to work."
And the best part about her job? "Seeing guide dog teams flourishing in the field," she says. "Each day, I put my entire heart, passion, and creativity into the dogs and clients I works with, and when I’m fortunate enough to see teams working beautifully together, it’s like witnessing magic."
In her spare time, Megan enjoys making pottery, mushroom foraging, and gardening.