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judges 2011


Entry Category Guide & Hearing Dogs
Charity Partner Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation
Location Bloomfield, Connecticut


Retired Navy Lt Brad Snyder can outswim most in the water, but on land, he’s guided by Fidelco Guide Dog “Gizzy.” She’s a dog with a heart of gold helping a battlefield military hero-turned-Paralympic champion on his quest to pursue more gold medals.
Brad graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2006 and served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2008 and 2009. While serving in Afghanistan in 2011, Snyder was blinded and nearly killed when an IED exploded in front of him. Through his rehabilitation process, the former captain of the Naval Academy Swim Team was reintroduced to the pool, and won two gold medals and a silver medal at London's 2012 Paralympic Games.
Brad’s sights are now set on the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, and Gizzy helps him travel independently to and from his daily training as well as speaking engagements across the country. On foot, by plane or train, or in the pool – Gizzy is there for Brad.
"I've always had a busy lifestyle, and I've traveled extensively with the Navy, and after losing my sight, I resolved that wouldn't change—I wouldn't become chained to the house, a recluse,” says Brad. “Gizzy has restored that autonomy for me. Whether it’s taking to the train to Washington, D.C. or walking to the grocery store, all those little things…. to be able to do them now without someone else’s help is life-changing.”

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