In Tribute to Nigel

By Dale E. Hartford, GDA President/Director

Retired Guide Dog Nigel, a star of Guide Dogs of America’s educational films, passed away on August 14, 2015. Nigel, a Golden Retriever, and his partner Lorri Bernson graduated from Guide Dogs of America in 2002, as members of Class #333. Nigel was 15 years old.

Lorri Bernson with a Golden Retriever and a Yellow Lab lying down in the grass

Lorri Bernson, her retired Guide Dog Nigel, and her current Guide Dog Carter relax together at a park.

Lorri, who is a member of GDA’s Board of Directors as well as our school’s Media and Community Liaison, calls Nigel “the greatest gift I’ve ever been given in my life.”

As a team, Lorri and Nigel introduced thousands of people to GDA’s program that provides blind and visually impaired individuals across the U.S. and Canada with professionally trained guide dogs and instruction in their use, free of charge. As partners, Lorri and Nigel touched countless lives.

Nigel was raised by GDA volunteer puppy raisers MaryBeth Murrill and Dave Durham and their two children. In 2010, Nigel retired from working as a guide dog. He was adopted by MaryBeth and Dave and enjoyed retirement as a cherished member of their family.

Featured in the films “A Walk In the Park,” which teaches children about guide dog work and our school, and “Just Like Any Other Day,” which is shown during tours of GDA and at many speaking engagements, Nigel continues to represent GDA’s guide dogs and the independence and loving companionship they provide to our graduates.

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