Leader Dogs for the Blind Recruiting People to Raise Puppies
FOX 47 News
Photo: Video by fox47news.com
A service dog starts out just like any other puppy, but volunteers take time to train them. And one local organization--- Leader Dogs for the Blind---- helps match puppies to those volunteers.
Theo is a very special puppy. He was bred to do more than take naps, play with other dogs and beg for treats. He was bred to be the eyes of a visually impaired person. His puppy raiser, Maggie, is responsible for getting him ready for all the things he may encounter as a leader dog.
"They go to work with me, sit in an office. They'll work an 8-hour day, or do a 6-hour day in class back and forth. They go to restaurants. They'll go on dates. They have to go to the bathroom with us... blind people have to go to the bathroom. So it's anywhere you can think of that you would go, we go with our dogs."
Theo is Maggie's seventh leader dog puppy, and though she says it is difficult to give them away, she finds comfort in knowing that they will make someone's life much easier.
"You know what it's going to do for someone else. And you can see that difference that it makes in their life. And how much it means to them that you gave up a year of your life for someone you don't know."
Just a few years ago, Don got his second leader dog - a golden retriever named General. Don had another leader dog who joined him every day at his job at General Motors.
"I would say, consider it a service project. A contribution that you're making to society. You're raising a child to get it ready to go to college and become a great success and do something positive for humanity. The people who have raised General have donated their services and their time to help someone like me be more independent."
From the breeder to the puppy raiser, to the owner, there are many people who go into training a leader dog. And for Don, "thank you" is a phrase that just does not seem good enough.
Leader Dogs for the Blind is recruiting people to raise puppies. It's free, and all you have to do is contact the organization to begin the process of getting a dog.