Meet Zoe and guide dog Fezzi

[Click here for the video audio description for our community with vision loss.]

Zoe Garcia & guide dog Fezzi

Tampa, Florida

A young girl sits on the roots of a banyan tree with a black Labrador sitting between her feet.

Zoe sits with Fezzi between her feet at the base of a banyan tree at a local park.

Born with bilateral colobamas, Zoe Garcia’s low vision and lack of depth perception seemed normal growing up—until she realized that it wasn’t. She noticed it more as she got older, particularly when her friends were learning to drive.

As a child in Puerto Rico, Zoe witnessed guide dogs working and decided she wanted one when she turned 18. But when the time came, her aging golden retriever, Kiara, didn’t get along with other dogs so Zoe waited to apply. “I couldn’t do that to her,” she says. “I felt sad when she passed away—she made everyone happy. That’s when I asked my parents about getting a guide dog.” Meanwhile, Zoe’s vision recently deteriorated further from a retinal detachment.

Zoe has been matched with Fezzi, a playful, attentive black Lab who follows Zoe everywhere when out of the harness. Her new guide dog will accompany her to classes at the University of South Florida where Zoe, a senior, studies environmental science and policy, minoring in mathematics at USF. Fezzi will soon spend even more time in the classroom, as Zoe plans to pursue her master’s and PhD degrees. This sweet dog will help Zoe become more social, too. “I want to get out more—I’m always at home,” she says. “Fezzi is fun to work with and she’s always watching over me. She makes me happy!”

Fezzi is sponsored by Bill and Karen Barker and named after Fezziwig, a character from Charles Dickens’ classic novel, A Christmas Carol. The Barker’s own rescue dog is also named Fezzi.

Do you know someone like Zoe that could use a guide dog? Encourage them to apply today.

Posted on November 1, 2018 | Category: Blog