January 29th 2015 is dedicated as National Seeing Eye Dog Day.
Guide Dogs, or Seeing Eye Dogs as they’re often called, provide support and independence to visually impaired individuals. Often, the companionship of the seeing eye dogs allows a visually impaired person to take many of their daily tasks back into their own hands. Suddenly a world that was always limiting a person is once again re-opened, and they’ve got a constant companion who is looking out for them at all times. The partnership between a trained guide dog and their person is something to behold, and it’s something I’ve always found incredibly powerful and fascinating.
The Guide Dogs for the Blind is an organization based on the West Coast that is passionate about serving the needs of the visually impaired. They are the largest Guide Dog school in North America, and provide services to students in the United States and Canada at no cost. The Guide Dogs for the Blind networks with dog breeders, raisers, trainers and more to provide highly skilled canines for service.
I’ve wanted to be a puppy raiser since I was 9 or 10 years old, it’s just something I’ve always known I would do. I always hoped I’d be able to raise a puppy during my college years, but that just wasn’t in the cards for me at that time. Since moving to Portland though, the idea of raising a puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind has come to the forefront of my mind again. The Guide Dogs for the Blind has campuses in both California and Oregon, and because I follow them on facebook, I often see postings of their ‘puppy truck’ deliveries.
To make my recent temptation even worse, many of you probably know The Today Show has a Guide Dog Puppy In Training on set on their show. He’s been a part of the team for about two weeks now, and his name is Wrangler. He’s nothing short of adorable! Wrangler is on set of The Today Show each morning, but goes home with his own dedicated puppy raiser each night.
I do realize that puppy raising isn’t for everyone. I also completely acknowledge how difficult it will be to give back a puppy after having raised him or her for over a year. (Typically puppy raisers are with their pups from 8wks- 12 or 14 months) I think the ‘attachment factor’ is the reason that more people don’t puppy raise, and I don’t blame them. But for me, taking on that loss is OK, because I really just want to be involved in the bigger picture. I just know how proud I would feel if the puppy we raised went on to become a serving companion to someone who truly relied on them.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways that anyone can help out the Guide Dogs for the Blind mission! You can start by spreading the word about what GDB is doing. Monetary donations in any amount are always appreciated, or you can show your support by shopping in their online store. Volunteer your time, or even consider signing up to be a puppy raiser, like I am!
So I’d love to hear…have any of you raised a puppy for GDB before? Would you consider it?? Why or why not??