Congratulations to Shelby Gelormo, GDB's newest qualified guide dog mobility instructor (GDMI). Shelby recently completed GDB's three-year apprenticeship that involves comprehensive academics and intensive on-the-job training to achieve her qualification, and we couldn't be more proud of her accomplishment!
Shelby began her animal training career at Moorpark College where she worked with many exotic animals (bobcats, servals, apes, parrots, goats, new guinea singing dogs, and more), and earned her degree in Psychology and her license in exotic animal training. After graduating, she went on to work at SeaWorld San Diego with the Orcas in Shamu Stadium. Shelby joined GDB's California campus Training Department staff in 2017 as a canine welfare training technician, and began her apprenticeship soon after. She later transferred to our Oregon campus, where she completed her apprenticeship and continues to enjoy working with our dogs and clients.
"My favorite part of the job is working with the dogs and understanding how their brains work and how they begin to pick up new concepts," she said. "It's so rewarding to work hard at a behavior then see it all come together. I also feel like I have a career with a purpose. Getting to see not only the dog's lives being enriched but also a client's life change is so good for the soul. I go home each day knowing I have changed someone's life for the better, whether it be a person or a dog."
She has some words of advice for anyone interested in pursuing a career as a guide dog mobility instructor. "Don't give up!" She said. "Sometimes the road traveled is longer than expected but keep the end goal in mind. Gain as much animal training and/or orientation and mobility (O&M) training as you can, and just keep applying and pushing forward. It is so worth it!"
Outside of work, Shelby is enjoying exploring her new home base in the Pacific Northwest. She and her husband, Eric, have two pet dogs: a Golden Retriever named Lady and a Bull Mastiff named Bella.
Congratulations again Shelby!