Legacy Society member and GDB alumna Deb Swenson is a Minnesota attorney and shareholder at one of the Midwest’s largest entertainment law firms. She works with a myriad of clients to preserve their rights in bankruptcy and other commercial litigation. Deb serves as primary counsel with a network of local counsel throughout the United States in virtually all state and federal courts.
As she has told many people over the years, she would not be the person she is today, and would not have pursued a career in law without Guide Dogs for the Blind and her wonderful guides, Perro, Janson, Kudo, and Samurai. In 1981, Deb started losing her vision, and over a three-month period became legally blind. Deb says she was devastated by the loss, which took not only her eye-sight but her self-confidence and independence. Deb lost her job, lost her apartment, went on public assistance, and moved into public housing. She was living in public housing when she received her first guide dog, Perro in 1986. Perro opened the world for her. “He gave me more confidence in myself than I had before losing my vision. I used to walk with my head down all of the time, but from day one with Perro, I walked with my head held high. Perro and I were a team for eleven years, and together we could do anything.”
In 1988, at the age of 34, she started at the University of Minnesota. After graduation she continued to Stanford Law School and graduated in 1995 as president of her class. Perro was with her for the first two years of private practice. She came back to GDB for all of her dogs and gives credit to her field manager, training staff, nurses, and support staff. “Everyone whom I have been in contact with at GDB has always been so caring and thoughtful to understand me and my guides’ needs and make the perfect match for my lifestyle and personality. I would simply not be who or where I am today if not for Guide Dogs for the Blind and the generosity of so many, many people. I am thankful I can give back to GDB for all they have done for me. I am honored to be included in the Legacy Society and listed as a member.”