Hi! My name is Guide Dog Fonzi. My handler Kimberly and I are at the ABVI Charleston office every Tuesday – Thursday so she can teach Activities of Daily Living, Assistive Technology and Soft Skills classes. Most of the time, I nap on my comfy bed while she works. When Kimberly and I meet new people, they often have a lot of questions about me. I hope you’ll enjoy these fun facts about the life of a guide dog.
- The most popular breeds for a guide dog are Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers, just like me!
- Before I met Kimberly, I trained at the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind in Smithtown, NY. When Kimberly came to take me home, we spent 2 weeks working and training together before going home to Charleston.
- I knew 50 commands when I met Kimberly, and she has taught me many more. My favorite is “find the bananas” in the grocery store.
- If I am in a harness, I am working so please don’t distract me. When my harness comes off, it’s play time! This is when you can pet me and play with me.
- Guide dogs get plenty of time off harness, especially when we are at home. I like to go outside and play with my sister Abby and take long walks when I’m not working. In the picture above, you can see me visiting with an ABVI client while I’m on break. I love meeting all of the wonderful ABVI clients.
- Dogs are color blind! Therefore, we cannot read traffic signals. Instead, Kimberly is trained to listen to traffic patterns, and I a trained to disobey her command to cross the street if the conditions are unsafe.
- Just like humans, a guide dog retires! The exact age varies, but it’s usually around 8-10 years old.
If you or someone you know in the Tri-County has a guide dog, ABVI offers scholarships to help with veterinary, food and grooming costs. Visit our Guide Dog Scholarships page to learn more.