Seems like this blog is off to a somewhat rocky start, despite all my good intentions. I was away for a few days but came back in time to share in a joyful event. My friend’s dog had her “Town Walk” today. A “Town Walk” is when a Seeing Eye pup has completed her training and their puppy raiser and family get to see them in action and see what they’ve learned. It’s a big step on the dog’s road to becoming a full fledged guide dog. It’s rewarding to see the pup that you’ve stayed up with at night, cleaned up after accidents, housebroken, trained, taken on various outings besides all the usual stuff of puppyhood confidently leading, guiding and protecting their trainer. It can be hard to envision this little pup who peed on your floor, chewed your furniture and hid your shoes as one that can be a dependable companion and guide. So, for a puppy raiser to see their dog in action is truly a happy occasion.
The pups are returned to the Seeing Eye at about 15-18 months of age
Only slightly more than 50% of all pups bred by the Seeing Eye make it to the formal training. . Of those that are accepted into the 4 month training program, only 80% of those make it through the full training period. So, when a dog does make it all the way through and is matched with a blind person. they are the cream of the crop.
One of the pups I raised made it through training and they fully expected to use her. However, dogs and people are matched according to a number of criteria, and, unfortunately, she was not matched with anybody. She stayed at the Seeing Eye for over a year. When she wasn’t matched in that period of time, they called to see if I wanted her back. And, of course I did! 🙂 This is my girl, Ginger:
One of my favorite shots of the pup I just sent back. They definitely are members of the family.
A photo taken shortly before my last pup (one I raised after Ginger) returned to the Seeing Eye.