Gui Douyon and Leader Dog Emma

Gui sits on a brick path outdoors on a sunny day. In one hand he holds the leash of the yellow lab and golden retriever cross lying beside him in harness, Emma. With his other hand, he pets Emma

During his sophomore year of college, GuiAlix decided it was time to apply for a Leader Dog. He first needed to strengthen his orientation and mobility skills, so he flew to Michigan for our week-long, accelerated white cane travel training. Shortly after he returned home, he was ready to train with a Leader Dog.

Gui is studying to be a veterinary technician and could not return to Michigan in the middle of a semester for 25 days of guide dog training. Fortunately, we were holding a two-week-long training session in Naples, Florida – right in Gui’s backyard – in February. This is where Gui trained with Leader Dog Emma, whom he describes as his “guardian angel.”

“Emma has changed every aspect of my life,” Gui says. “She looks out for me and I don’t ever have to worry about my blind spots.”

He continues: “Emma keeps up with me. When she sees I’m not doing anything, she just hangs out, but when I grab her harness, she’s ready to go.”

Even though people are always watching Gui and his adorable Labrador retriever Emma when they are on the train or walking around campus, when she is in her harness, Emma is completely disengaged from other people.

“She really moves through a crowd when it’s necessary, and she is good at chilling out, too,” Gui says. “Emma enjoys when I play piano. I’ll go to the piano and she sits under my seat and will veg out until I’m done.”

Gui and Emma were able to stay home and ride out Hurricane Irma this past September. He said the hardest thing for Emma was the heat. For nine days, they had no air conditioning! To cope, they spent more time outside, using fallen trees and branches as an opportunity to practice avoiding obstacles.

Gui said that his ultimate goal is to be a veterinarian. Since Emma will be right there with him attending every class, she might just get DVM after her name, too!

RECOMMENDED BLOGS & VIDEOS

A woman wearing a blindfold walks toward some roadblocks while holding the handle of a harness on a golden retriever. The golden retriever is guiding the woman while a Leader Dog instructor holds the dog's leash and speaks to the woman

Executive Leadership Training at Leader Dog

Dogs are teaching humans to be better bosses in this ...
Jeff and his wife, Linda, sit with their arms around each other's shoulders, smiling at the camera. They are seated at a table with other tables and guests visible in the background.

Empty Fork Again

By Jeff Hawkins, Leader Dog Client Seriously, did it just ...
A golden retriever in leather Leader Dog harness walks on inscribed bricks on a sunny day. A person is walking next to the dog and is only visible from the waist down

Webinar: Is a Leader Dog the Right Mobility Tool for Me?

  We have held the first in a series of ...
Five clients are seated, facing the camera and smiling. Each one has a Leader Dog in harness sitting on the floor next to them. Behind the clients stand two instructors, one male and one female

Becoming a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor

By Ashley Nunnelly, Guide Dog Mobility Instructor Before joining Leader Dog, ...
Gretchen Preston sits smiling at the camera with her left arm around her Leader Dog, black Labrador Floyd, who is wearing a leather Leader Dog harness

Five Ways to Keep Your Leader Dog Active in Inclement Weather

By Gretchen Preston, Leader Dog Handler Cold, wind, rain or ...
Tripp walks toward the camera on a sidewalk with one arm extended in front of him. On his left is a yellow Labrador Leader Dog in harness

Full Speed Ahead

© Jeffrey D. Etheridge There is no shortage of preparation ...