Puppy raisers are the unsung heroes of the guide dog world. Their immense sacrifice and dedication towards training allows people, like myself, to live more independent lifestyles.
While every puppy raising family is undoubtedly special, I was personally touched by the profile you are about to read. Check out 14 year old Guiding Eyes for the Blind raiser, Haven, from the Catoctin region.
This amazing young woman’s selfless spirit absolutely radiates through her description of why she wanted to become a guide dog raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
Haven, if you’re reading this (and I hope you are), I want both you and your parents to know, how grateful I am to read and share your story on Blind Motherhood. I have no doubt you will grow to become an amazing young woman, capable of great things. As Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Thank You, Haven!
A 14 Year Old Raiser In Her Own Words:
My name is Haven, I am fourteen and I have always loved dogs…so when my mom asked me if I wanted to raise a future guide dog; I thought it would be cool to train one. I wasn’t hooked at first until I saw a lady from our church raising a guide puppy. Seeing her train the dog for a “purpose” started to draw me closer to raising my own puppy for Guiding Eyes.
Connections & Imogene:
Our next step was to visit some of Guiding Eyes puppy classes. Seeing the trainers with the dogs, and the connection the dogs had with their trainers, got me hooked. I wanted to experience that special connection. When one of the directors asked if my family wanted to train our own puppy; I knew I could not say no.
First, we raised Imogene, who has now graduated and is a guide dog in New Orleans. We are in the process of raising our second puppy, Nera.
Nera is a nine-month old, female, yellow Labrador. When she is inside, Nera adores playing with a stuffed hotdog toy that she throws in the air. When outside, she loves running around our yard and playing with an old football.
Nera’s personality can be very head strong at times. However, being head strong helps with learning new tricks and being confident in stressful situations. Also, she will do anything for treats.
Nera is such an affectionate dog. When you are on the floor, she will come, lay in your lap and bring a toy to chew on. Nera is a strong worker. She is a great companion and a loyal friend.
She is a very loving dog and will do anything for you. She is well on her way to being a great guide dog.
Lessons Learned From Puppy Raising:
I have learned, from raising two puppies, to be patient, consistent, and above all to be loving. It is hard to give up a puppy at the end of their training, but I know that my dog’s potential partner will enjoy Nera as much as my family did.
In addition, if you would like more information on becoming a puppy raiser with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, please CLICK HERE.
Want to be featured on our Puppy Raiser Profiles? Email Celeste Rees, Guiding Eyes Regional Manager for the Puppy Program @ [email protected]