How do I begin to talk about puppy raisers…I guess I’ll just grasp whatever words come to me. The day I went to the GDB website, I started learning everything about the process, about how the dogs are raised from birth to be our eyes. It was immediately apparent to me that THE most important part of the dog’s lives, they’re “adolescent years” if you will, is the puppy raisers.
These people…man I wish I could convey how choked up I am thinking about them, these people first of all must love dogs. How could you not love dogs and do what they do? These are volunteer families who take in puppies from the school after they have been weened from their mothers. The purpose of this transition, is to start showing the dogs what is like “out there”. Puppy raisers take the dogs places, and the puppies get to wear vests that give them the same rights as guide dogs. Therefor, they can go with their raisers to school, work, restaurants, stores and even the rodeo and buses, as I just read on some blogs.
The dogs can live with these volunteer families for up to a year and a half, and its there, that they learn how to be used to the kind of life they’ll lead when they get matched to their blind person. The volunteers attend meetings and get support from the school and they must just fall in love with these dogs. And then…they have to give them up!!!
Can you imagine…training this darling dog and then giving it up, how gut wrenching! But these people, these selfless people, know how important these dogs will be to someone like me who needs eyes. They know what an amazing thing they are doing, at least I hope they do. So they set aside the pain they know they will feel down the road. Its like being a surrogate mom. But, then the “puppy truck” comes back, and they get a new puppy! And sometimes, if the doggy just isn’t quite made to be a guide, the raiser family can take him back! And, these people can go to the graduations at the school and meet the blind person to whom this amazing dog, a dog they helped raise, will go to, to be a guide, a companion, a friend, a source of comfort, for a blind person.
I had read all about them and listened to the podcasts and was so impressed with these people. Today I talked to Cortney and she told me how to go about searching for blogs on here. So I typed in “guide dog” and found Toby’s blog. How cool it was to read about a raiser and her charge. And then, jackpot! A whole list of other raiser blogs!!! I became a follower of each and every one so I can read about the dogs and their lives before the go back to “college” to learn to be a guide. I’m so thrilled and ecstatic! I was bummed after I got all the info I could off of GDB’s website, because there was no more to read, and now I’ve found these blogs.
Thank you, puppy raisers…thank you for your contribution to these dogs becoming eyes for people like me. My braille teacher is off to school to get another dog, and I can’t wait to meet him/her.
I think I’m done writing, when I’m filled with gratitude, its so hard to get my feelings across, and I just bumble my words. =D