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Super Senior: Marilyn Sheldon

(WCAX)
Published: Apr. 18, 2019 at 6:39 PM EDT
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It's take your dog to work day for Marilyn Sheldon at the Rutland Senior Center. The 11-month-old golden Labrador retriever will be getting a workout.

"Oh, definitely, yes," Marilyn said. "This is the training part."

Marilyn is a puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

But this isn't obedience class. It's a fitness class for the seniors in the area.

Reporter Joe Carroll: How long have you done this class?

Marilyn Sheldon: I have no idea.

Joe Carroll: You have no idea?

Marilyn Sheldon: I have no idea.

But she does know how many dogs she trained. Hyla is her 20th.

"She's just staying there. Amazing. Just fantastic," Marilyn said.

For the next hour, Hyla does what she's supposed to do-- not move from the mat while the women stretch and move to the music.

Joe Carroll: One of your better students.

Marilyn Sheldon: Oh, yeah, definitely.

Hyla is one of the best dogs she's trained.

Joe Carroll: What do you enjoy more, training the dogs or the ladies?

Marilyn Sheldon: Oh, I love it all. I just love it all.

Sharon Crosby and Roberta Maltese are regulars.

"She's an inspiration for everyone, everyone," Maltese said.

"She's a peach," Crosby said.

Joe Carroll: Do you mind having the dog here?

Sharon Crosby: Not at all.

Roberta Maltese: No I have a dog. I love dogs.

Sharon Crosby: So do I.

Joe Carroll: And then she has to give them up.

Roberta Maltese: Oh, that I couldn't do!

Joe Carroll: Are these like your kids?

Marilyn Sheldon: Oh, yeah. They're wonderful.

At her house in Rutland Town, Marilyn and her husband, Richard, have a wall of all their children.

"I'm never sorry to part with them because I know it's for a good cause," Richard said.

Not all of Marilyn dogs have made it past the next level of training.

Joe Carroll: Training means goodbye.

Marilyn Sheldon: Yeah, right.

That's when they see if the dog has the discipline and temperament to be a full-fledged Seeing Eye dog.

"They don't fail. They just have a change of career," Marilyn said.

Back at the senior center, the class is winding down. But Marilyn is not done with Hyla. She's got a few more months with her. And then she'll be getting her 21st pup.

Joe Carroll: This is a big commitment.

Marilyn Sheldon: Oh, yeah. But it's fun. I love it.

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