It was an exciting day but a sad day yesterday. Knowing it may be the last time we are able to be with our sweet little yellow lab who we love very much was a difficult pill to swallow but we realize that she is a dog with a higher calling.
The dog that is going to make a good guide dog needs to be a confident dog, a willing dog that wants to connect and work with a person. A dog that enjoys working. Our guiding Eyes pup Rasha was bred to be a guide dog and when she was just two months old she was placed with us. I became a trained puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes for The Blind. We started out simple: sit, down, stay… with lots of praise, and treats! We quickly moved into just doing the hand motion and not the voice command. As the weekly training classes continued we worked on more complex tasks like sitting between the trainers legs, and not being distracted by other dogs.
Rasha has graduated from puppy school and will now spend the next 6 months working with a trained professional before she is placed with a visually-impaired partner. Trainers who work for guiding eyes as staff will teach the dogs the real specifics of how do we avoid traffic, how to we turn ever so precisely, and how do you maneuver around obstacles. That training is essential to a strong foundation established by the puppy raisers like myself.
It is bittersweet , but more on the sweet knowing that Rasha is going off to her next chapter. She is a very special dog and I am glad I was able to help her help others in need and change someone’s life forever.