Sindy Puckett ready for new challenges

Sindy Puckett hugs her Labrador leader dog, Eleanor, along the handicap-accessible walking path at Runge Nature Center, a path the two walk often.

Sindy Puckett hugs her Labrador leader dog, Eleanor, along the handicap-accessible walking path at Runge Nature Center, a path the two walk often. Photo by Kris Wilson.

In matching cap and gown, a blond Labrador walked alongside Sindy Puckett as she accepted her master’s degree from Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) last month.

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That was the last major event for the pair, as Eleanor, now 7, will retire this summer.

“I’ve worked her really hard; college life is stressful on a dog,” Puckett said.

But Eleanor was a source of confidence for Puckett as she was the first legally-blind person to earn a master’s degree from SEMO.

In July, Puckett will meet her new service dog through Leader Dogs for the Blind, with help from the Jefferson City Host Lions.

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