Jan 10th, 2021
3 min read

An Enhanced Career with a Guide Dog Companion

Chris kneeling next to black Lab Guide Dog, Sadie
Chris kneels next to black Lab Guide Dog, Sadie
“It has definitely changed my life, and the way I interact with the world.”

Chris Yoon is a Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) graduate with his guide dog, Sadie, a four year old black female lab that was matched with Chris in September 2018. Chris was first introduced to GDB by a friend, and was able to have his two-week instruction at GDB’s campus in San Rafael, California before his final year of his Masters program at Stanford University; now, he is a Program Manager at Microsoft and joyfully working with Sadie.

Before having Sadie by his side, Chris, who is visually impaired, took more time and caution when navigating places, especially during night. But with Sadie, Chris is able to explore a variety of places such as malls, parks, and his workplace at Microsoft more comfortably. “Before Covid-19, Sadie would help me navigate across different buildings and floors at my workplace. Without her, it would require me to plan out my day and be more careful during travel,” Chris says. In addition, Sadie’s guidance at night also helps Chris stay more confident during later hours. “In Washington, it gets dark early, so Sadie is very reliable when it’s dark”. Sadie has also saved Chris out of many dangerous situations as well. “It still blows my mind when Sadie saves me from danger. At night one time, a car came out of nowhere and Sadie stopped and saved me from getting hit by the car.” It’s not often that Chris faces dangers outdoors, but he has immense trust for Sadie wherever they travel and definitely is a lifesaver at times.

Sadie has also enhanced Chris’ social interactions: “Having a guide dog takes down the barrier during everyday life and in professional settings. She’s made it a lot easier to meet new people and make friends at work and is a great icebreaker. With Sadie, it's been a lot easier to walk into a room and start a conversation or get help. The level of interaction and confidence available with a guide dog is incomparable to when without a guide dog.”

Chris also actively attends meetings and outings with the Bellevue puppy club for Guide Dogs for the Blind after becoming curious of what the raising and training process was like. “It was really cool to see the different stages of the dogs, from little puppies just starting the program to the very intelligent older dogs, and it was fascinating to see the progress of the dogs and how much effort and care the volunteers put into puppy raising. I’m super grateful for all the volunteers, instructors, and staff at GDB who are able to make this happen. It’s really impressive the amount of professionalism the dogs have when they’re in their harnesses.” He hopes he can keep interacting with GDB puppies in training and have many more great adventures with Sadie.

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