Posts Tagged ‘guide dogs in training’

Blogathon 2010 – Guide Dogs I Have Known and Loved

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

I want to shape my Blogathon posts around what YOU want to read about.  I assume you want to see unlimited pictures of my pets and twenty-four pictures of Omaha clocks so of course I will include them!  But beyond that, thank you for your help coming up with other topics!  And THANK YOU Tamara for the suggestion to talk about Service Dogs!

Since I was first “introduced” to Bradyn and his need for a service dog, I have been thinking back fondly on my time in Colorado.  I started my career in Littleton Colorado.  The hospital at which I worked, Companion Animal Veterinary Hospital, saw a disproportionate number of Guide Dogs and Guide Dogs in Training.

I was young.  I was new at this.  You know when you go through an incredible season of life, and you assume life will always have that incredible edge to it? That’s how it was with me and Guide Dogs.  I love where I am now (in life and my career) but boy, do I miss the Guide Dogs…and their people.

Companion Animal Veterinary Hospital was (and is) the best kind of hospital – the clientele is mainly “word-of-mouth.”  Friends tell friends.  Apparently, long before I arrived, friends who raised Guide Dog puppies started telling friends who raised Guide Dog puppies that the Companion team loved puppies, and things took off from there.They would come in one after the other for well puppy visits…the German Shepherds, the Golden Retrievers, the Labrador Retrievers, the Golden-Labrador crosses… *sigh*  SO cute!  The puppy raisers kept the pups for their first year, socialized them, trained them and then (the reason I could never bring myself to join them) turned them back over to Guide Dogs for the Blind to finish their training and placement with their new person.

If, for any reason, the pups were not able to complete training (for many of them, it was a simple lack of focus that would in no way impede their ability to be a perfect pet) they would undergo a “career change” and be adopted to a private family, often the family that had raised them.

I also had two dear clients with their own working Guide Dogs.  They were both favorites of mine, as were their dogs.  Two things were different about my interactions with these clients than others.  Many times, their intuition would clue them into a problem long before a sighted person’s vision would have clued them into a problem in a similar situation.  The other difference was that some health issues had much more gravity attached to them.  Of course, any pet’s illness or injury is important.  But with these guide dogs, some situations, such as lameness or vision issues needed to be taken care of as quickly and thoroughly as possible, so as not to jeopardize their work.

It has been years since I have seen these two and their dogs, and all of the wonderful guide dogs in training and equally wonderful foster families.  I know there is a group here in Omaha that also works with Guide Dogs for the Blind, though it may be a bit smaller than the one in Littleton.  I have met the leader of the group and she is very nice.  They also have a well established relationship with a great veterinary hospital in town, which…I…think…is…(C’mon, I can do this!)…great. *sniff*

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥