Graduate Stories

Guide Dog Foundation students come from all backgrounds and geographical locations.  

Our program students are blind, physically disabled or face physiological impairments.  However, they all share one common goal: to live without boundaries.  The stories below are about the people who have broken down their barriers by making the decision to use an assistance dog to enhance their independence and mobility.  

You have our permission to reproduce and share these materials. Help us raise awareness for our programs by using this information wherever possible. 

For more information and additional story angles please contact:
Andrew Rubenstein, Director of Marketing 631-930-9091
Bill Krol, Communications Manager 631-930-9034

We are happy to answer questions, send out media kits, set up interviews, and arrange photo and video shoots.

Video Testimonials

Tamara Bergstrom
We’re excited to share the story of Tamara Bergstrom, a U.S. Air Force veteran who came to the Guide Dog Foundation for her first guide dog.

Joseph Vrbas
Learn more about Joseph and his journey to taking on the new guide dog lifestyle. 

Carolyn Ruiz
Guide Dog Foundation program graduate Carolyn Ruiz talks about her experience getting her new guide dog. Carolyn spent two weeks with us learning how to work with her new guide. 

Sonja Gunn
Sonja, a Foundation graduate, talks about her guide dog training experience while on campus during a recent class.

Bob Shoemaker
Air Force veteran and recent guide dog program graduate Bob Shoemaker shares his story about making the decision to get a guide dog.

Sandy Alexander
Wichita Kansas-native, Sanford (Sandy) Alexander was born legally blind and has used a guide dog for over 47 years.  Now, working with his ninth guide dog, Sandy speaks about his experiences during in the two-week training program. 

Print Stories

Hari Dhoundiyal – Challenging Perceptions

Hari Dhoundiyal describes growing up blind in India as “interesting.”  When he was in the fourth grade, he was accidentally poked in the eye, which resulted in injury to that eye.  “It was only one eye,” he says, “but I lost my second eye because of the sympathetic effect.”  Continue reading here.
Hari working with his new guide dog and a GDF trainer during class.

Vic Pereira – Seeing the Light
There was no epiphany that prompted Vic Pereira to get a guide dog, no long-suppressed desire to walk with a dog by his side.  Generally, he was content to use a cane to help him navigate the world.  Continue reading here.

Vic and his new guide dog at a crosswalk.
First Person - Brian Christian’s Story
Brian Christian was partnered with his guide dog in 2011. In this first person account, he shares his journey.  Continue reading here.

Brian and his guide dog pose for a portrait.