What is a Guide Dog Puppy Raiser?
When you are matched with a guide dog from the Seeing Eye you also learn a lot about the wonderful work of Puppy Raisers.
What is a Puppy Raiser? Oh not much, just the amazing family that loves a puppy for the first year and a half or so of it’s life. They take him to puppy class and are responsible for socializing her and spend a huge amounts of time and energy with the dog, including the fun stuff like, you know – the housetraining, the basic commands, the chew-stopping – then, after all that investment of time and work and incredible love – return him to the Seeing Eye for his official guide dog training. At that point they say ‘goodbye’ to their family member. All so that folks like me can have such well trained, loving animals to make out lives better.
When a blind person is teamed with a Seeing Eye dog, a letter from the puppy raisers about those precious first years spent in their home is also presented.
Today is Garrett’s seventh birthday. In honor of his special day, I’d like to share with you the note I received about his early days… I get the impression he was working on his “Ninja Dog” nickname from the moment of birth, what do you think?!
Garrett Puppy Profile
Born: March 6, 2008
Garrett had a human Mom, Dad, two sisters, aged 23 and 20, and two brothers aged 13 and 15. We live in the suburbs on 1/3 of an acre so he did get to run around. We have a built in pool and Garrett loves to swim in it with the family.
His best friend was a three year old female yellow Lab who lived in the neighborhood. He plays with her a couple times a week and loves her. He likes to go to the bank, hikes, car rides, walks, and he pulls my 13 year old on his skateboard around the neighborhood. Garrett is like a rocket and it is funny to watch.
Garrett is very lovable, friendly, loyal, very smart, a little independent, playful, wants to be the center of attention, persistent in his endeavors, and a great puppy overall. He likes to be busy and is a hard worker – like at the puppy meetings he would do his best.
He loves to be with people and I, the Mom, was not working so he is used to being with someone all day. He likes big clunky nylon bones, and a soccer ball. He also likes his Kong. I think I’ll always remember Garrett sitting at the bottom of the steps in the foyer, looking up waiting for me to come down the stairs. He patiently waits for me to come and say good morning.
Garrett loves new experiences. Our first big snow fall he had a blast running and eating the snow. The cutest thing he did was roll down the side of our hill over and over and just laid there for a minute, like he did not know what just happened.
Garrett will frequently lay down to drink his water and put his face in the bowl – so cute! He loves the water, sprinklers, the hose, the pool, and the lake.
You will enjoy him.
To let us know he had to go park time, he would lay down by the door we go in and out of. Sometimes in the evening he would bark at us, like he was saying “I have to go out.
Garrett is outgoing, friendly, intelligent, playful, confident, and thinks for himself. He loves attention and will sit next to someone with his head on their foot. He loves a routine and this makes his behavior predictable.
Maybe it’s because it’s the last statement in this letter, but the part that sticks out to me is that “Garrett likes routine.”
Our lives are pretty far from routine. Still, here on his 7th birthday, Garrett works like a champ and loves his ‘job.’ His dog friends (honorary siblings?), a border collie named Ax and a schnoodle named Smooch, help keep him young.
I am really lucky to have such a great dog as this guy! And I’m really grateful for all the Puppy Raisers who make the unique and loyal teamwork of Seeing Eye dogs and handlers possible. Thank you.
Happy Birthday Garrett!