When contemplating her future career path, Christina Cherry pondered what would suit her desire and aptitude for a creative, active, and impactful job. She considered some of her passions and interests: ballerina? trumpet player in an orchestra or band? mathematician? She ventured down the mathematician path and earned an associate's degree in math from Laney College in Oakland, Calif. Despite the degree, Christina knew math would not be her calling in life, so she turned to another growing interest of hers: dogs, specifically, service dogs that could help make a difference in someone's life. Intriguing idea - but how would she know if a career in the service dog field was for her? Long story short, she decided to raise a puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB), and the rest, as they say, is history.
With Christina's experience raising guide dog puppy Ember (who became a GDB breeder, and is now her beloved pet), she enrolled at Bergin University of Canine Studies in Penngrove, Calif., and graduated with a bachelor's degree in cynology (canine studies). She went on to work as a program instructor with Paws for Purple Hearts, training dogs to assist veterans with trauma-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and physical disabilities. But she always knew she wanted to work at GDB, so when a position became available, she applied and was hired at our California campus in the Training Department as a canine welfare training technician (CWTT). She moved into a guide dog mobility apprentice instructor role shortly thereafter.
Today, we are proud to congratulate Christina on the completion of her three-year+ apprenticeship, and welcome her as GDB's newest qualified guide dog mobility instructor. GDB's apprenticeship includes academic study of topics such as causes of blindness and canine behavior, as well as hands-on experience in training guide dogs and instructing GDB clients. Outside of work, Christina enjoys hobbies such as line dancing, hiking, biking, and wine tasting.
"Being a guide dog mobility instructor is a very rewarding career path and I’m grateful for finding it!" Christina said. "Guide Dogs for the Blind is a great organization that surrounds you with people who truly are passionate and love what they do. The best thing about my job is the variety it offers. I not only get to train dogs but also get to work with GDB's wonderful clients during their class training, and then conduct visits with clients in the field. No day is ever the same and it keeps me on my toes."
We are so grateful that this former ballet dancer decided GDB was the best place to keep her on her toes. Congratulations Christina!
To learn more about jobs with a purpose at Guide Dogs for the Blind, visit our Careers page.