Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Karen and Gadget

Meet Graduate Karen

Karen stands in a landscaped area near a fountain with yellow Lab guide dog Gadget sitting beside herGraduate Team: Karen and Gadget
About the Team: Gadget a yellow male Lab, is Karen’s 4th Guiding Eyes dog
Location: St. Petersburg, Florida
Training: March 2024 Home Training

Karen has returned to Guiding Eyes for her fourth guide dog, a yellow Labrador named Gadget. She and her late husband had lived in Atlanta, Georgia, but they eventually migrated south to St. Petersburg, Florida. After her husband’s passing, Karen chose to stay in Florida, as she has established many good friendships in her neighborhood and loves her church. Karen enjoys spending time in the swimming pool of her apartment complex, as well as attending movie nights at her church with friends. They also love eating together at local restaurants. Karen is an avid reader and likes to take walks with her guide dog. Gadget provides her with the freedom she hasn’t had in a while. She is so pleased to feel the independence of a guide dog once again that she is considering volunteering at local nursing homes, bringing joy to residents by visiting with Gadget.

How would you describe your guide dog?  “Gadget was so worth waiting for. He loves to work and he’s very good.  He always tries to please me.  He settles well and lays by my side when I read.  He’s very calm and always stays nearby.  Gadget likes his toys and has two beds. He’s doing well in harness, responds well to my commands, and stays alert to helping me with my balance.”

What made you decide to apply for a guide dog from Guiding Eyes? “I applied mainly because Guiding Eyes has a training program for people with multiple disabilities. I am not only blind, but I’m hearing impaired, and have a balance problem. I was really interested when a friend mentioned the Guiding Eyes Specialized Training program, and after I applied, I was evaluated for that program. I use a one-prong cane, but sometimes I stumble, and Gadget was trained to steady me, so I don’t fall. Guiding Eyes is wonderful. I feel so blessed to have them because they’ve been there for me. And thank you to all the volunteers.”

How has a guide dog impacted your life? “I had good cane skills, and it was still hard for me to get out and do things without a dog.  I have more of a desire to get out with a dog, plus there is more positivity from other people; either talking about their own dogs, dogs in general, or asking about guide dogs. The companionship of having a guide dog is really good for me. I feel safe in my community, but with Gadget, I feel even safer. I’m more secure and can be more focused on what I am doing.  If you get lost and you have a dog, it’s easier to stay calm. Since I’m later in life now, I feel even better with a guide dog. Gadget is a big dog, and at first, I was a little concerned about his size, but he came to me immediately and started licking me. I’ve never had a dog come to me that quickly and we’ve easily bonded.”

Were there any training highlights?  “During my Home Training, my instructor, Louise, brought Gadget and worked with us the first week, then my instructor Nikki was with us for the second week. Gadget was getting used to my home area but didn’t want to ‘do his business’ near my apartment. We played, sang songs, and encouraged him, and when he finally did what he was supposed to, we had a party. It was an accomplishment! Another funny thing was when we would go to restaurants in my home area. It’s hard to believe, but Gadget would sleep while we were in there. I said to friends, ‘Can you imagine a Labrador sleeping when there is food nearby?’”

Meet Guide Dog Gadget

DOB: 7/5/2021
Litter ID: 2GG21
Color/Breed:  Yellow/Labrador
Gender: Male
Brood: Quay
Stud: Everett
Littermates: Gusto, Georgie
Region:  Cleveland East, Cleveland West
Regional Puppy Instructor: Macy Nauman
Puppy Raiser:  Suzan & Lorenzo Bocciarelli, Elizabeth M. Dunn
Facebook: Ohio Puppy Raisers

Special Recognition: Gadget’s training was made possible by a special gift from the Jean & Robert Jefferson Celsor Trust, in memory of Jean Celsor. Jean held a deep appreciation for two often overlooked groups in society: women and dogs.   Jean’s nephew, Jackie Brown continued his aunt’s legacy through the designation of this gift to Guiding Eyes for the Blind to sponsor Gadget’s training for Karen.

From the Puppy Raiser…

From Gadget’s last report – Gadget attended the Eli Manning TEN presentation with SuperBowl events – It was reported that Gadget was even able to help pick who was going to win the Superbowl. Gadget picked the Chiefs to win – he is a genius! ~ Betsy Dunn and Suzan Bocciarelli (starter) and Pam Kaufman (helper raisier) 

Photos of the Team…