Guide Dog Victoria Brings Smiles to the Hospital

In 2009, Debora Ciepiela became legally blind from degenerative myopia. For ten years, she relied on her “guide husband” to get around. When she tried to navigate on her own, she often experienced trips and falls, spraining a shoulder, breaking her hand, and breaking her front teeth.

In 2019, Debora was matched with her first guide dog, Victoria, and now she walks freely on her own.

Last week, Debora shared how Victoria has brought comfort despite an extra-stressful situation, while spreading joy in her neighborhood and a local hospital.

“Since I am retired, I fortunately do not have to go to work. We live in a 55+ neighborhood so everyone is understandably concerned and practicing social distancing. Victoria has been busy spreading happiness wherever she goes. As we walk our neighborhood, the elderly sitting on the porch all smile and talk about Victoria and what a good girl she is. She is busy spreading joy.

Last week, my husband was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. We are both feeling a little anxious about the situation. Victoria has been sharing cuddles and love and keeping both of us feeling relaxed.

Yesterday, we had to go to see the neurosurgeon at the hospital. Going to a hospital right now is difficult. We had to go through several screening processes. Victoria brought smiles to the face of all the staff. Everyone was joking about taking her temperature and giving her a sticker too. We ended up having to visit various departments to get my husband cleared for his surgery next week. My husband said it was so great to see the staff light up when they spotted Victoria. She was of course, on her best behavior. In these difficult times, everyone needs a little relief from their worries. Victoria is doing her part to spread smiles.”


Your commitment to our dogs and the people who need them is critical – especially now. Because of COVID-19 postponements, we anticipate that the waiting list for one of our dogs will be greater than ever before. Your support today will bring hope to a veteran with a disability, a person with vision loss, or a child with a significant challenge. Make a difference—donate now.

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Posted on April 6, 2020 | Category: Blog