Charitable Ambitions

My charitable ambitions:

Guide Dogs of America

So what is it all about?

A little over 10 years ago, when I moved out west I became very involved with animal rescue. Boxer dogs in particular. My precious boxer was my best friend for just shy of a decade. When I finally lost her to cancer, I was completely devastated. A friend came over and pulled me out of my puddle of tears and took me to the our local renaissance faire to cheer me up.

As I walked in the gates, I saw a lady with a young black lab and bright yellow jacket that said Guide Dogs of America, puppy in training.

Within a month I was at my first meeting, within three months I was raising my first puppy in training.

Here’s how it works:

I am a puppy raiser. This is NOT to be confused with a professional dog trainer. What I do, doesn’t come close to what the professional trainer for seeing eye dogs teach.

I receive a puppy at the tender age of 7 weeks. I teach basic obedience with the help of a 50 page manual, the trainers at Guide Dogs of America and an outside obedience class.

My job is to teach the puppy the basics: “sit”, “stay”, “come” etc… and to take them out into the world and get them accustomed to what they would experience on a day to day basis living with a visually impaired person.

This means lots of experiences with public transportation, boats, planes, trains, buses and cars of course! As well as just mundane things like the grocery store, the movies or going out to dinner.

All at an appropriate age for the pup.This means that no, you don’t take your 3 month old puppy on a 2 hour major shop at Costco or something. He will have to get busy and it might be a bit overwhelming. Just baby steps until I took my year old puppy to out local auto show with 30,000 people. By then he was so used to being out and about, it was a great experience.

I will have my pup from 7 weeks of age to anywhere between 15-20 months and then the pup will go back to Guide Dogs of America for more training. There they will spend about 5 months learning, what I call, the real stuff. This is where they learn how to work in harness and learn all the cool things that guide dogs do to bless people’s lives.

If all goes well and they learn well and enjoy the work, they will be paired with a blind person who will then come to the school and live there for one month and undergo training. They work as a team and will then gradate together.

This is, in my humble opinion, one of the most amazing charities in the world. They are fully privately funded and the blind recipients of the dogs do not pay a cent for them. It costs $38,000 a dog to bring through the program. It is my GOAL… to donate this amount to charity. Want to join me? Every penny counts. Click onto their web site and donate or click onto their icon and make your favorite purchase. A percentage of the sale goes to them.

A guide dog is truly that. A guide, who leads his human through the world. A guide is a helper, a companion, confident and friend.

The fact that I can have even a little something to do with something so special is a blessing to me.

I am currently raising my 4th puppy. Yet another black male Labrador retriever. He is 3 months old and is pure joy. The more passive income I generate online, the more free time I can spend to helping the blind.