Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Happy Thanksgiving

2/4/2007

Guide Dogs

Filed under: — stan @ 9:09 pm

Last year, Cathy found a little article in the Auto Club magazine about a school near San Francisco that trains guide dogs for the blind. It said that they had an open house that we could visit. She loves dogs, and she wanted to take a trip up there to go to it. I thought that surely in a city the size of Los Angeles, there must be something comparable. So I went looking, and found Guide Dogs of America. It’s in Sylmar in the northeast corner of the San Fernando Valley.

They have a graduation and open house every three months there, so we made plans to go to one. And today was the day.

The graduation involved the class of dogs that are being given to their new masters, as well as the people who fostered the dogs as puppies. The puppy raisers do the basic training and socialization of the dogs, and then some specialized trainers teach the dog how to be a guide dog before they are matched up with blind people in need of dogs. It’s a pretty amazing process, and it was very obvious that the blind people were very happy to have the dogs to help them. Apparently, the entire service is free to the blind, and it’s largely supported by donations and volunteers.

We got to meet a lot of dogs in training. The foster families are encouraged to bring them to events like these so that they can get used to the environment. We also got some information about possibly having them do a presentation at Lucinda’s school, and also how to sign up to foster a puppy. We may or may not do that soon, but we probably will some day.

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