Love puppies? Love being helpful? This one’s for you

February 23, 2014 at 3:24 pm | In How to help, Pets, West Seattle news | 14 Comments

Look, it’s a puppy with an invitation for you!

I’m Sagan, the newest puppy to join the West Seattle See Dogs. I’m curious, affectionate and playful (Just a little sleepy in this photo.)

My new raisers, Judy and Fred Brown, are going to help me grow up to be the best dog I can be with fun techniques.

West Seattle See Dogs are looking for other volunteers who can usher a puppy down the path to becoming a guide dog.

We’ll provide a community of support to allow you to give back while being paid in unconditional love. It is a job that is both warm and fuzzy!

Join us Tuesday, February 25th, at 6:30 pm at The Kenney and meet Sagan and other volunteers and learn how you might become involved.

Can’t make it? Call Ruth Oldham at 206-953-0268 – and learn more at www.guidedogs.com/puppy

Thanks to Ruth for forwarding Sagan’s invite. The Kenney is at 7125 Fauntleroy Way SW.

14 Comments

  1. This is a really great program.

    Comment by Lura Ercolano — 3:41 pm February 23, 2014 #

  2. OMG Sagan is so cute!!!! I couldn’t do this job…I wouldn’t be able to give the pup up when ready to go. Selfish I guess but look at that face and the love that dog will give.

    Comment by payrollgirl — 5:23 pm February 23, 2014 #

  3. What a doll!!! What kind of dog is Sagan?

    Comment by Rachel — 5:58 pm February 23, 2014 #

  4. That’s like saying you won’t visit Paris because it would be hard to leave. Sure, it’s hard, but by itself that isn’t a reason to deny yourself the experience.
    .
    Some puppy raisers arrange it so they get the next puppy when the first puppy goes back to class.

    Comment by Lura Ercolano — 6:01 pm February 23, 2014 #

  5. I would totally do this if I lived in an apartment that allowed animals other than fish. :(

    Is there another way I could help out?

    Comment by HKW — 8:20 pm February 23, 2014 #

  6. “That’s like saying you won’t visit Paris because it would be hard to leave.”
    .

    No, it’s not even remotely like that. You can go visit Paris any time you like for the rest of your life. Once you have off your puppy when training is complete, they’re gone forever. That’s what makes participation in such a program hard for some people and it’s silly to try and blow off their valid concerns.

    Comment by Stef — 8:20 pm February 23, 2014 #

  7. Oh, of course it’s hard, Stef.
    .
    And not just “for some people” as you put it. Pretty much everyone cries when it’s time to say goodbye. Yes, it’s hard. And yet thousands of puppy raisers have found it to be an enriching, fulfilling, rewarding journey, despite that pain. Sure, puppy raising isn’t for everybody, for a variety of reasons, but it’s not like only insensitive uncaring people do it.
    .
    HKW – yes, you should come to the meeting. There are lots of ways to be involved.

    Comment by Lura — 9:52 pm February 23, 2014 #

  8. There are so many life-long relationships between our Guide Dog Alums and Raisers that are begun when they meet at Graduation. Like other relationships with a friend who may move away and promise to stay in touch over the years, we may lose touch. Guide dogs is always in touch with the team and caring for the dog.
    We raise our children up to be all that they can be and they may pursue their dreams far away. I have a family on the East coast and I do feel sadness a few days when they leave after a visit but there is no sorrow. Same with our puppies.

    My question to those who are able is “how can you not” give your heart and the gift of a “soul mate”?

    Check out “The Intrepids” article in the 2014 March issue of Real Simple about four blind mothers in Portland and their GDB guide dogs.

    Comment by Ruth Oldham — 1:17 pm February 24, 2014 #

  9. Sagan is a black lab :)

    They are so cute! This community is so amazing and the work is so fulfilling – I highly recommend you give it a try! It’s an amazing experience. Yes, you “give them up” but you send them off to fulfill their life’s mission with someone that really needs the help you’ve provided. And you can keep in touch! It’s really amazing. And there are so many individuals that have done this dozen of times so yes, you say so long to one, but say hello to another one.

    Comment by Jessica — 1:34 pm February 24, 2014 #

  10. I probably won’t go to the thing tomorrow as this is not something we can do in the near future. so I’ll have to bookmark this or something. But: does anyone know how old children must be before their family can participate? I checked their website which showed photos of some children, listed as ‘volunteers’, so I assume it’s allowed. however, I didn’t see any FAQ’s which described household age limits or anything.
    another dumb question. can you participate if you live in a neighborhood without sidewalks- ie, where you would take them on walks for their daily ‘business’. I mean, I assume that part of the training would need to include curbs/ curb cuts, etc. and you could take them somewhere that has those features, but would their routine walks need to include curb cuts as well ?

    Comment by sam-c — 4:38 pm February 24, 2014 #

  11. Age of family members is not an issue. It’s an opportunity to learn responsibility and sharing.
    All family members need to be “onboard” for consistency.
    The dogs are taught to do their business on a schedule and on command only.
    We socialize the dogs anywhere a visually impaired person would go over a year plus that they are in our homes in a variety of neighborhoods and settings.
    I’d love to answer questions at this or any other meeting. Email seedogs@comcast.net and follow us on Facebook.

    Comment by Ruth Oldham — 7:45 pm February 24, 2014 #

  12. Usually what happens when the “puppy” becomes a working guide dog, the raisers stay in touch with the new partner (if they agree) and our families grow larger and better with the new extended family members. We send birthday cards to the dogs and anniversary cards to the “team” (new partner and dog), emails, phone calls, etc.
    It is an enriching experience!
    However, we do need volunteers to help out at events with the puppies and that is always fun!
    Cheryl

    Comment by Cheryl Phelps — 10:18 am February 25, 2014 #

  13. Sam-C asked about curb cuts and training. When the puppies are about 15-16 months old, professional trainers take over and that is when the dogs learn how to guide a blind person. At that stage the dogs learn how to handle curbs in a way that assists their blind partner.
    .
    The club teaches the puppy raisers how to do training and socialization, and we take the puppies lots if places so they are comfortable and confident, but the actual detailed training of how-to-guide-a-blind-person is not done by the puppy raisers.

    Comment by Lura — 1:23 pm February 25, 2014 #

  14. cool! good to know- thank you for the follow up!
    (also good to know that the families are not responsible for the very specific guide dog training work :)

    Comment by sam-c — 10:42 am February 26, 2014 #

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