BAYarts Storytellers features Guiding Eyes dogs

Ava Almquist with Hoyt, the guide dog she is raising.

Get ready for another new Storytellers installment, this one with the added bonus of: dogs.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind provides guide dogs to people with vision loss. In a heartwarming BAYarts Storytellers talk on Saturday, May 13, at 10:30 a.m., you will hear about how Brooks Almquist and her daughter Ava got into working with GEB, as well as speaker Gayle Papesh. Additionally, you will meet the guide dogs: Ambrie, Hoyt and Chance.

Brooks Almquist has been a part of the BAYarts community for a long time, both as a volunteer and as the shop artisan who creates her own handmade line of Toot Sweet Soap Shack lotions, scrubs, soaps and more. 

Storytellers creator, Jessica Stockdale, tapped Brooks for a talk as soon as she found out the story they had. "I started seeing Brooks stop by with two cute and friendly dogs, and learned that she and her daughter were actually raising them as service dogs for people with visual impairments. Their generosity is so inspiring, and I imagine it must consume a lot of effort and energy. I am looking forward to hearing them talk about what it's like, as well as getting to meet the dogs they are bringing."

The talk is also one being targeted to high school students that might soon have to do senior projects. Stockdale says she did an Animal Assisted Therapy project in conjunction with Bay High School during her senior year, and Ava Almquist is raising Hoyt as part of a community service project. When it comes to taking on a similar project for school, ones that incorporate animals are always available and a valuable option. This talk may help provide inspiration to students. But the audience will be varied.

"This talk is not only for people who think they might want to take part in this group," explains Stockdale. "We know not everyone can take on that sort of project, so it won't just be informative. I think it will be an uplifting morning all around, and you'll walk away with a new perspective."

There will be information and pamphlets for anyone interested in getting more information about raising puppies, and they will be accepting donations to the non-profit Guiding Eyes for the Blind organization. If you cannot attend the talk but wish to donate something, please contact 

This free Storytellers talk will take place in the Fuller House on the BAYarts campus.

Imogen Davies

Imogen Davies

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 9:37 AM, 05.02.2017