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A Story of Kismet, Serendipity, and Fate

Wednesday January 31, 2024

Abdul Kamara and his black Lab guide dog Faye with Annie Martin, Gail Martin, and Jessica Firkins with her daughers Ariss Firkins and Cerelle Firkins.

There are many ways to make a lasting impact at Guide Dogs for the Blind. Annie Martin has loved giving back as a volunteer puppy raiser and a breeder custodian. But one guide dog puppy named Faye and her partnership with GDB client Abdul Kamara filled Annie’s heart with a special joy and a sense of wonder.

It all started when Annie met Abdul in January 2018 while browsing in the GDB gift shop. “We engaged in a brief conversation and Abdul stated that he had applied for a guide dog. I jokingly stated that I had a pup in training who was a giant and that perhaps he would be partnered with her.”

Eight months later, Annie met Faye and Abdul before their graduation celebrating their partnership as a guide dog team. “As we were talking, we both recalled that day in the gift shop and both got chills,” says Annie. “How could it be that we reunited and that Abdul would be receiving the puppy I raised as his working guide?”

Call it Kismet, serendipity, coincidence, or fate. “It was simply meant to be,” says Annie, who turned 50 years old the day before Abdul and Faye’s graduation. “It was the best birthday present ever!”

Faye is also special to Annie because she was the first female puppy Annie raised from GDB breeder dog Cove, for whom she was a breeder custodian. Annie adopted Cove after she retired as a breeder dog in 2020.

Faye was an easy pup to raise, so smart and eager to learn,” says Annie. “She had a profound roaring howl when she played, and she loved going to school with me every day, attending sports events, and walking the bustling halls between classes. My sports medicine students loved having both Cove and Faye in class,” explains Annie.

Faye in her puppy jacket sits in a classroom chair with her paw on a classroom desk                school desk

Faye was a gentle giant, who weighed in at 69 pounds when she returned to GDB’s campus for formal guide dog training and later partnered with Abdul. Abdul describes his relationship with Faye as very symbiotic. “I know Faye grows every time we’re out and about. That’s very true of me, too. We’re both growing and navigating the world together.”

Annie and Abdul have stayed in touch. About a year and a half after he and Faye were partnered, Annie and her mother Gail, invited Abdul to visit GDB’s Puppy Center. Another Kismet moment occurred when Annie raised another of Cove's daughters named Cabela, who became a GDB breeder dog. Today, Annie is Cabela's breeder custodian. Notes Annie: “My story with Guide Dogs for the Blind runs deep with the breeders and their offspring!”

Gail and Annie Martin cuddle GDB puppies with client Abdul Kamara

Abdul, meanwhile, wants to thank donors and volunteers like Annie who he says have facilitated what he calls “a very meaningful and empowering dynamic partnership” for which he’s profoundly grateful. “I can’t imagine not having Faye in my life,” he says.

Learn more about GDB’s volunteer Puppy Raising Program

Explore how you can become a volunteer Breeder Custodian

Categories: GDB Alumni, GDB Breeding Program, Puppy Raising