Hi Friends! As you know by now, I’m Harvey, your guide through the weeks leading up to Kathy’s guide dog coming to Colorado to provide new vistas and opportunities for her. This week I’ll answer some questions that many of you have been asking about this cute little pup! Here we go!
The Very Beginning Weeks of a Guide Dog Pup
Most guide dog pups begin their careers by being “adopted” by puppy raisers at eight weeks old. Kathy and her husband were involved as volunteers, and received Gatwick from an official Guide Dog puppy truck. They were told, “Raise a puppy, change a life.” For the first year of the puppy’s life, while living in the home of a puppy raiser, the dog is taught good manners, is exposed to many socialization experiences, and practices daily training techniques, while also being part of a local puppy raising club. Want to know more about puppy raising? Click here to find out more at Guide Dogs’ website.
What Happens After the Puppy’s First Year?
When Gatwick was about 15months old, he returned to the Oregon Campus of Guide Dogs for the Blind. Some pups return to the San Rafael Campus in CA. For 2-3 months the dogs are taught by professional mobility instructors to safely guide someone through the complexities of pedestrian travel. The extensive training ensures that the dog-human team is compatible in every area, from communication styles to personalities, according to the officials at Guide Dogs for the Blind.
When the pups graduate as guides, the puppy raisers are invited to the graduation ceremonies to celebrate the life-changing partnerships they helped create!
Tell Us Details About the Dog
It’s a SURPRISE! Guide Dogs for the Blind is still extensively training this special dog, and they are looking at a number of candidates to match perfectly with the recipients. So the dog could be a Labrador Retriever, a Golden Retriever, or a mix of the two. The color could be anything between white, black, golden, or purple (just kidding!). Even male or female is unknown until the recipient arrives on campus.
I’ll be taking a break next week, due to the fact that Kathy will be in Illinois for the National K-9 Comfort Dog Conference….watch for pics and posts about that!
Wet doggy kisses and tail wags from me. Prayers of HOPE from Kathy for you,
Harvey & Kathy