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Graduate Profile: Gabrielle Lozano & Jock

This week saw another group of students graduate with their new guides. Here is just one of those amazing people’s story, as told by Leslie Rowe (lrowe@greatwords.net).

Gabrielle Lozano, 22, has been blind since she was a three-year-old from the effects of a tumor on her optic nerve. But this hasn’t stopped her from reaching for her dreams, and now a wonderful black Lab named Jock is here to help her reach even farther.

Before meeting her new guide dog, Gabrielle has experienced a bit of local fame. Google her name and you’ll discover that she inspired many by graduating from Manatee Technical Institute with a culinary arts degree. Today, Gabrielle is making plans to open her own catering business, aptly named Blind Ambitions. She knows her way around a commercial kitchen better than many sighted people.

While students as young as 18 are eligible to receive a guide dog, Gabrielle waited until now to apply to Southeastern Guide Dogs because of her love for her family dog. She didn’t want to introduce another dog into the house when her pet had such an alpha personality. When her dog passed away, she knew it was time.

Before arriving at Southeastern, Gabrielle wondered how a dog would navigate public places like stores and streets. She soon found out that independence is now at the end of a harness.

“I’m already realizing I can go a lot more places and do a lot more traveling,” she said after training for a few weeks with Jock. “I’m planning to walk to the grocery store by myself with him.” 

If the glowing reviews from her fellow students are any indication of her skills, we’re sure there will be a number of people waiting to taste the fruits of that trip to the store!

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