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Gabriel and Gabe

Meet Graduate Gabriel

Gabriel and yellow Lab guide dog Gabe sit for team portrait

Graduate Team: Gabriel and Gabe
About the Team: Gabe, a male yellow Lab, is Gabriel’s 2nd guide dog
Location: Miami Lakes, Florida
Training: June 2023 On-Campus

Gabriel comes to Guiding Eyes for his 2nd guide dog Gabe, developing a partnership that goes way beyond their matching names. Gabriel works as a Resource Advisor for the DSO at Miami Dade College, North Campus. He completed his undergraduate degree in corporate law at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras in his home country and received his MBA in management from Barry University in Miami. He and Gabe live with his retired guide, Posh, his partner Anthony, and Anthony’s guide, Boaty. Gabriel and Anthony are both highly involved with the American Council of the Blind in different capacities. He’s also on the Board of Directors for Blind Pride International. Gabriel loves to be adventurous, whether getting on a flight to New York City or to Honduras to visit his parents. He likes wining and dining, going to the theater, or trying new food. He also enjoys listening to opera and classical music, yoga, and spending time with family and friends.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Gabe is active, energetic, playful, and loving. He and I are so similar, which is why we bonded immediately, I think. He has such a giving personality, always bringing me or anyone else a toy or ball. It’s so funny because he’ll bring something that is of value to him. He loves to be a part of what’s going on.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes?  “I started surrounding myself with people who had guides while I still used a cane. I noticed how people with guide dogs were so much faster when traveling and avoiding obstacles. When I encountered these friends, I started a list of the pros and cons of having a guide dog, saying whenever I was ready, I’d get one. One day I deleted the document and decided I didn’t care about the pros and cons. I felt in my heart that I was ready. I knew it would enhance both my life and my mobility, so I applied to several schools. I felt such a good vibe from everyone at Guiding Eyes as they held my hand through the process. I saw how detail-oriented they were at the school and how they matched me so perfectly with Posh.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “It’s a life changer having a guide, especially when traveling. It’s amazing how you feel – like going places has just opened up. For me, I’m able to enjoy life and focus more than when I was a cane user because I had to think of so many things before. Now I have a beautiful dog who is working with me and taking care of the logistics, so I can take care of other things. It makes me want to do more, go new places, and be more adventurous and spontaneous. Having Gabe next to me works because we complement each other, not only working but just in general, whether we’re out visiting someone, at a restaurant or flying somewhere. It’s also about what I can give to the dog – I love knowing that I am making a difference in his life because I have so much love to give.”

Were there any training highlights? “What impacted me was how attentive they were, picking up on things I didn’t notice I was doing that were hindering Gabe’s ability to guide me. I had been doing some things to help Posh as she was slowing down before retirement, and I was still doing those things with Gabe. As soon as the training team noticed, they told me what I was doing and helped me correct it before it impacted Gabe. This was a huge eye-opener for me since I wouldn’t have noticed without their attention to detail. It took my love for the trainers to a new level because they were so understanding of my dynamic with Gabe and tuned into to how we worked as a team. As soon as I made that change, I immediately noticed a difference in how Gabe was responding.”

Meet Guide Dog Gabe

DOB:  1/23/2020
Litter ID: 4G20
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador
Gender: Male
Brood: MacKenzie
Stud: Jasper
Littermates: Goldie, Griffin, Graham, Gary, Gregg, Gerald
Region:  Lower Westchester, Erie NY
Regional Puppy Instructor: Elizabeth Vacchiano, Cassie Houghton
Puppy Raiser:  The Landless Family, The Weronski Family, Matthew Nayda
Facebook: Westchester Puppy Raisers
Facebook: Erie Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Gabe came to us when he was about a year old. He was a very happy, excited boy. Always pure happiness. He had a special play relationship with my husband and training and relaxing time with me. Sleeping on my feet while I watched TV. We hope you and Gabe make a wonderful team. ~Paula Weronski, Puppy Raiser

Photos of the Team…