Locally-trained dog presented to partner
April 30, 2009 · Updated 2:34 PM
A local 4-H Club, Future Vision Guide Dog Club, contributed time and love in raising a puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind. That dog, Roker, a golden retriever, graduated as a guide in a formal ceremony at Guide Dog campus in Boring, Ore., July 24.
Guide Dogs for the Blind uses yellow and black Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, German shepherds, Labrador and golden crosses and smooth coated collies as guides. The puppies are born at the Guide Dog kennels and placed in the homes of volunteer puppy raisers when they are about 2 months old. The puppy raisers socialize the pups by house-breaking them, teaching them to be good canine citizens and introducing them to new experiences.
The pups are returned to the Guide Dog campuses for formal guidework training with licensed instructors when they are 14 to 18 months old. Following the completion of training, the dogs are matched with blind students enrolled at the school. The new person-dog team completes an intensive in-residence course culminating with a graduation ceremony at which the raiser formally presents the dog to the animal's new partner.
Roker was raised by Sarah Lafley of Enumclaw, who presented the dog to graduating student Caitlin Hoover of Rockport, Texas.
For more than 60 years, Guide Dogs for the Blind has been creating life-long partnerships by providing skilled dogs and training in their use free of charge. The organization receives no government funding but depends entirely on private donations. For information contact Guide Dogs for the Blind at 800-295-4050 or visit the Web site at www.guidedogs.com.