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Daniel and Lancelot

Meet Graduate Daniel

Graduate Team:  Daniel and Lancelot
About the Team:  Lancelot, a male yellow Lab, is Dan’s 3rd guide dog, but 1st from Guiding Eyes
Hometown:  Austin, Texas
Training: November 2022 On-Campus

Dan was born and raised in Kerrville, Texas, and at the age of two, experienced vision loss as a result of detached retinas. He has since undergone thirteen surgeries, but remains without vision. Daniel graduated from the Texas State University in San Marcos in 2021 with a double major in Spanish and communication studies.  He is employed by Google, working as a Screen Reader – Subject Matter Expert. His role is that of a liaison between the Google device consumer and the company’s engineers, to make any and all Google products more user friendly; in other words, to get the bugs out of the devices and test product accessibility. Daniel’s hobbies and interests include traveling, reading fantasy books, and pop music. He is also into the martial arts and has earned a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. In addition, he brews his own craft beer and loves to cook. His favorite meals to prepare are typically Italian. He also enjoys preparing Thanksgiving dinner and has prepared the annual feast from soup to nuts for many years.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Lancelot is above all a people pleaser. He is outgoing, and really enjoys meeting new people.  When not working he is goofy and wants to play tug-of-war, his favorite game. When it’s time to settle down, he is an amazing worker and by far the best guide dog I have ever had. By the way, Lancelot’s raisers have communicated to me that he loves to swim, however, we have not gone swimming yet.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I have had two previous guide dogs from other schools and those experiences were challenging, so I turned to Guiding Eyes.  Lancelot restored my faith in having a guide dog. Guiding Eyes understood my needs and had what I needed and wanted in a guide dog.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “I can travel more competently and quicker, although I had considered myself a fast cane traveler. Lancelot makes it easier for people to approach and talk to me. I enjoy conversation, and Lancelot you might say, is a great ice breaker. In the short time I have had Lancelot more people have entered my life, befriending me.” 

Were there any training highlights? “The New York City experience was amazing. There were three other students in my class and we all enjoyed one another’s company during the 2 weeks of training. When we traveled to places in the van, we all would jam out and sing to the music playing, including our trainers. It helped everyone relax and relieved any anxiety. The highlight for me was traveling to Grand Central Station in New York City. I couldn’t find my belt that morning when getting dressed and once at Grand Central my pants kept sliding down. Shannon solved the problem by taking an extra guide dog leash and offered it as a belt to hold up my pants. Everyone laughed and were put at ease, knowing I would not be exposing myself and subsequently being remembered by countless New Yorkers.”

Meet Guide Dog Lancelot

DOB:  2/5/2020
Litter ID: S-4L20
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador Retriever
Gender: Male
Brood: Bonnie
Stud: Garcia
Littermates: London, Loretta, Lucille, Lilac, Laura, Leilani, Luau, Laddie
Region:  New Hampshire, Fingerlakes, Columbus
Regional Puppy Instructor: Lisa Bumbalo, Cassie Houghton, Leslie Stephens
Puppy Raiser:  Michelle Russell, Yfke Havinga
Facebook: New Hampshire Puppy Raisers
Facebook: Fingerlakes Puppy Raisers
Facebook: Columbus Puppy Raisers

Special Recognition: Lancelot was Special Named by The Heinzerling Family.

From the Puppy Raiser…

Lancelot was a joy to raise. The tricky part was that it was during covid. Our in person puppy classes were cancelled and I needed to log onto zoom and listen/watch class and keep Lancelot doing the skills we were learning. That was a challenge. He was a confident, sweet, sometimes sassy puppy from day 1. We had to work hard on getting him used to the crate. My husband and kids loved having him as part of our family. He lived in New Hampshire with a yellow lab, Grover (Guiding Eyes medical release ) 8 yrs old, and a Brittany Spaniel, 11. His favorite buddy was our black & white tuxedo cat, Nelson. He loves dogs and walks very slowly. Lancelot really loved and respected Nelson. We spent lots of time in the outdoors, hiking, long walks and getting exposed to different under footings. Lancelot – sometimes called Sir Lancelot, just loved to have a good time. He was learning how to retrieve a ball, loved the water and squeaky toys, and just to be part of our family of 4 teen to adult children. We wish you lots of puppy hugs and know that you and Lancelot will have a wonderful partnership. ~ Michelle Russell, Puppy Raiser (starter)

Lancelot was my third GEB pup and got to experience both college and veterinary school during his time with me. Lancelot was a hard worker during every outing I took him on, from the first few months when we could only do outings outside due to COVID to trips into big cities like DC and Philadelphia. I even flew with Lancelot during Thanksgiving break last year when he wowed every person we passed with his connection to me. During our last day together, we traveled to NYC where he showed off his happy work ethic in the challenging environments of Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and public transport during the holiday season. He is the sweetest, most loving, and handsomest Labrador I know, and his handler will be sure to smile every day with Lancelot in his life! ~ Yfke Havinga, Puppy Raiser (finisher)

Photos of the Team…