Written by Katie Cuppy


A selfie of Katie and Gabrielle side by side.

A selfie of Katie and Gabrielle side by side.

It seems like just yesterday when I got a knock on my door at Guide Dogs for the Blind. I was greeted by an energetic, spunky black Labrador retriever who was excited to meet me. Almost as excited to meet me as I was to meet her. At that moment, there was so much I wish I could have told her. I would have told her how ecstatic I was to finally meet her. I would have told her how long I had been waiting for that very moment. I would have told her about all of the sleepless nights I spent imagining what it would be like to finally have a guide dog. I would have told her about the years I spent dreaming of the day I could finally pick up a harness handle and feel what it’s like to work seamlessly together as a guide dog team. But instead, I greeted her as calmly as possible, trying to contain my tears of excitement (not very successfully, I might add).

That was two years ago, and ever since then, Gabrielle and I have been inseparable. We have been through so much together already. She has stuck by my side through thick and thin, and I can’t imagine my life without her. Still, to this day, I wish there was a way for me to tell her all of the things that were running through my mind the day we met, but I hope somehow, she knows how grateful I am for her. Working with Gabrielle every day is still just as exciting and exhilarating as the first time I picked up the harness handle. Even after two years together, I still feel like every day is an adventure. No matter what our day looks like, Gabrielle is by my side, ready for anything that comes our way. Whether it’s a trip to the grocery store, or a day at work, she is always ready to guide me through anything.

Gabrielle sitting in harness in the forest with a big smile on her face.

Gabrielle sitting in harness in the forest with a big smile on her face.

The first ever photo I took of Gabrielle the day we met. She is sitting on a concrete floor looking up at the camera.

The first ever photo I took of Gabrielle the day we met. She is sitting on a concrete floor looking up at the camera.

My life with Gabrielle is so much brighter than it ever was before. With her, I have a sense of empowerment and confidence. I know that together, we can do anything. She continues to show me that every day, no matter what happens. This is the reason why I celebrate every day with her, and why anniversaries of our graduation day are so special. Because I know how special she is, and our bond together truly is something to celebrate!