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Christian and Gideon

Meet Graduate Christian

Christian and black lab guide dog Gideo sit close indoors for grad portraitGraduate Team: Chris and Gideon
About the Team: Gideon, a male black Lab, is Chris’ 1st Guiding Eyes dog
Location:  Wilmington, Delaware
Training: April 2023 On-Campus

Chris and his daughter, Mila, live in Wilmington, Delaware where Chris is retired from a 25-year long career as a project manager. Chris is also a musician and music composer, preparing to release his own music within the next year. Aside from his love of music, Chris enjoys cooking, walking, traveling, and home renovation. His recent home renovation projects have included building a play yard for Gideon and revamping his house to have “smart home” features. Chris & Mila look forward to traveling with Gideon and have goals of visiting Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, and Washington, D.C. in the future.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Gideon is super friendly and a very good boy. He loves his crate, likes tennis balls and really likes his tug toy he got from his puppy raiser. I’ve found if I act like a teenager like him, and say, ‘come on buddy, let’s go!’, he gets excited and runs around with me. If I get excited, he’s right there with me. He’s also talkative, but he doesn’t bark. He’s a music fan himself and really loves the song I performed at our graduation, an original song that has lyrics that pertain to the guide dog experience. When Gideon hears it, he goes nuts, but in a good way, jumping around and dancing! He also loves his crate and is such a sweetie pie. We go on trail walks every day together. I built a play yard around my home, similar to what we had at Guiding Eyes. We’re looking forward to his raisers visiting one day and bringing the puppy they’re raising now, so they can play together out there.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I felt insecure when I was out, and even though I self-advocated and got audible sidewalks, some of the stuff I’d encounter just felt dangerous to me. Gideon is a total enabler and created a ton of confidence in me. He keeps me doing things that had been getting harder and more challenging. I can’t see a car at a distance, but he can. He’s not going to let me walk out into traffic. He’s good at what he does! The companion thing is nice also and it’s nice to be able to exercise with him. People don’t really understand a low vision disability, but with a guide dog they do. I have a great property for him at home and when I perform, he’ll be on stage with me, which is awesome.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I feel more confident and safer – also when I’m with my daughter too, not just me. We’re all a lot safer. Being able to navigate and do it exactly the right way with him is a lot safer and reduces a lot of risks for everyone. He’s also really helpful with depth perception.”

Were there any training highlights? “We were a small group and between training exercises we would be waiting around, and I didn’t know what to do. One highlight would be when he brought his bone over to me and put it in my hand, and I was like, ‘what am I supposed to do with this?’ So, I slid it like a hockey puck, he fetched it and brought it back, and ‘matador-ed’ it underneath me. That’s what we did for hours every day; our fun fetch game that he taught me. He’s a little Ferdinand, the Bull. Everyone laughs when they see it.”

Meet Guide Dog Gideon

DOB:  3/31/2021
Litter ID: 4G21
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Male
Brood: Fortune
Stud: Dasher
Littermates: Grayson, Gatsby, Gonzo, General, Gemini, Gibbs, Grover, Guthrie
Region:  Baltimore
Regional Puppy Instructor: Jeanyne Gembarski
Puppy Raiser:  Debra Honick, Kristen Chusid
Facebook: Baltimore Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Gideon is a loyal and sweet lovebug! He is strong in his desire to learn and please. He was a pleasure to raise with his enthusiasm to reach goals we created together. His snuggles verified his love and willingness to be part of our great team. Gid was an easy pup, eager to face challenges and work through issues. Our outings were filled with excitement and we loved to go to new places. He loved shopping, carnivals, nature walks and more. Sometimes a silly pup, sometimes very serious. I wish for you and Gideon a happy, easy and meaningful journey together filled with a bond like only Gideon can provide! Gideon is and always will be a very special and truly an awesome boy!  ~ Debra Honick, Puppy Raiser

Gideon has always been such a happy-go-lucky pup. He loves to play and has always been very eager to please. As a co-raised pup, his resiliency and adaptability from day one has always really impressed me. He had an innate ability to transition seamlessly between homes. Gideon was constantly making me laugh, whether it be the exaggerated way he dances into a “heel,” the way he always loves to “sploot” in the baby pool, or how he loves to run in the waves at the beach, that boy knows how to make you laugh! I know you will fall in love with Gideon as fast as I did and I wish you a partnership filled with as many laughs as he gave me!  ~ Kristen Chusid, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…