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Gary and Izzie

Meet Graduate Gary

Gary happily sits beside black Lab guide dog Izzie for their graduate portraitGraduate Team: Gary and Izzie
About the Team: Izzie, a female black Lab, is Gary’s 4th guide dog, 2nd from Guiding Eyes
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Training: March 2024 On-Campus

Gary and his wife reside in Baltimore, Maryland with his retired guide dog, Bowie. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services employs Gary as a staff attorney, and he also works in private practice. He earned a Master in Letters of Law (L.L.M.) from American University, Washington College of Law. He serves as an adjunct faculty member at his JD institution, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Gary has a passion for the theater and advocates for the accessibility of cultural arts. He helps Maryland artists by providing pro bono legal services and plans to attend audio-described performances at the opera and the Shakespearean theatre with Izzie and his wife. Gary also enjoys a range of overall physical or intellectual pursuits, such as reading and libraries, visiting museums, and walking two miles daily. Gary has traveled on an extensive basis domestically or internationally with each dog. In May, Izzie will travel to her third state already, Oklahoma, meeting Gary’s in-laws.

How would you describe your guide dog? “Izzie is beautiful, fast, and sometimes silly. She is a lean, muscular dog with floppy ears. She normally makes good decisions, but she is a young guide dog with room for learning and growing daily.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “Arguably, Guiding Eyes is blindness empowerment oriented. The culture for that starts at the top of the organization. Having a CEO or head of a guide dog organization who is visually impaired and also a dog handler makes a huge cultural difference in how an organization approaches its clients. Guiding Eyes does a notable job of respecting blind people as autonomous and capable professionals. Additionally, I admire that Guiding Eyes has an athletic orientation. Despite the barriers blind people confront to physical fitness, there is a culture at Guiding Eyes that encourages being physically fit to work one’s dog better. That profoundly impresses me. Guiding Eyes has continued on its journey of improvement and innovation. While I enjoyed my residential experience with Bowie; this recent training fortnight I completed at GEB seemed like a bed and breakfast experience.”

How has having a guide dog impacted your life? “My twenty or more years collaborating with guide dogs have profoundly impacted my life on a personal, and on a professional basis. I still use a cane and I am a good cane user, but a dog has so many advantages as a preferred mobility tool. A cane is not making decisions, but a guide dog partners with you in mobility. As someone who loves the outdoors and animals, I love having dogs around me. They have been a huge part of my personal life, from being a bachelor to my wedding when I worked with my first dog partner down the aisle, and from completing a postgraduate degree to traveling through a professional international Fellowship. Specifically, I have built a professional identity as a lawyer with a guide dog.”

Were there any training highlights? “I have learned much from every instructor with whom I have collaborated. That stated, I have enjoyed two instructors notably from GEB: Del Rodman, who collaborated with Bowie and me, and then recently from my time shared with Dan Weesner, a wise and thoughtful man. I enjoyed the conversations I shared with Dan when training with Izzie. She is fabulous at traveling, including, when at airports.”

Meet Guide Dog Izzie

DOB:  11/5/2021
Litter ID: 4I321
Color/Breed:  Black/Labrador
Gender: Female
Brood: Zula
Stud: Darren
Littermates: Ira, Ingalls, Ina, Ives, Imus, Idaho, Icabod
Region:  Southern CT
Regional Puppy Instructor: Maureen Hollis
Puppy Raiser:  Laura Buchanan
Facebook: Southern CT Puppy Raisers

From the Puppy Raiser…

Izzie is a wonderful dog who always does her best! She is great company at home or traveling, and can relax anywhere. It was such fun to go places with her because she enjoyed everything and made any outing nicer. Izzie especially loves bringing you her toys and sharing them with you! While she was growing up she loved to go swimming and to chase frisbees outside, leaping in the air and pouncing with enthusiasm. Izzie is a very sweet and lovable girl! It was a real privilege to raise her! Thank You! ~ Laura Buchanan

Photos of the Team…