Meet Michael and Chucker
Elvin “Michael” Baker-Gonzalez was sure that the power went out that day at his job as a CPA for the Miami Dolphins football organization. Instead, it was an eye stroke caused by a hereditary disease; his blood vessels had burst resulting in vision loss.
“That day I drove to work, sat at my desk and got my coffee and then everything went black. I thought we had a power outage. Then I realized in my corner office with windows, I should be able to see in the dark.”
In 2008, Michael received his first guide dog, Simon, who has since retired. Michael waited to apply for a successor dog until after recovering from knees and hip replacement surgery and heart surgery.
Now that he’s ready to become more active again, Michael returned to us for a new season of independence. He will head home to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with Chucker, a curious and steady black Labrador that makes sure that Michael has his balance before going forward. Chucker will soon have instant friends in Michael’s other two dogs, a 16-year-old, shih tzu with one eye, and a four pound Yorkie that instinctively wakes him up when his blood sugar is too low from diabetes.
Chucker will be by his side and guiding the way as Michael hopes to volunteer for the Lighthouse, the Humane Society, and Dolphin camp.
“I’m feeling more independent,” he shared. “I’m not scared to go places anymore. I live in six blocks from Broward General Hospital, three blocks from the bank, four blocks from Publix, seven blocks from McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Duncan Donuts. Everything is accessible if you have a dog!”