||GONE TO THE DOGS!
No one in our
immediate family is blind, but we have been raising Seeing Eye puppies.
The Seeing Eye is the oldest guide dog organization in the world, having celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2009.
When we applied to raise a Seeing Eye puppy, we were told not to expect one for several months.
Then a lady who was raising one injured her knee and needed an operation. That meant that she couldn't keep
her 9-month-old Lab/Golden mix. We offered to take over and got Venita on April 15, 2008 at nine months of
age. She had already learned most of the Seeing Eye rules. On September 8th, Venita went to the Seeing Eye
headquarters in Morristown, NJ for four months of intensive training. She became a guide and companion for
a lady in North Carolina.
In January, 2009, we got a second puppy from The Seeing Eye. She was a black Lab/Golden mix, but TSE named
her Pumpkin! Her brother was golden, but they named him Pilgrim, but we don't name the dogs! We fell in love
with Pumpkin and so did nearly everyone else. She delighted in giving unsuspecting persons, especially children,
a quick kiss on the cheek, so we sometimes called her "Lickerish."
Pumpkin returned to The Seeing Eye in Morristown, NJ for her formal training on June 1, 2011.
She is presently in the service of a man in Upper New York State.
Our third dog had the given name, "TR" but that is the international
code for Turkey, and TR is a German Shepherd! If you insert the German word for
dogs, "Hunde," you get "Thunder." That would seem more appropriate, don't you think?
TR returned to Morristown on April 24, 2012.
After TR came a black Lab named Betsy, but she was taken out of the program due to fearfulness of lawn mowers etc.
She made someone a nice pet.
Since November, 2012, we have our fifth puppy from The Seeing Eye, Nina. She is a Lab/Golden mix and learning fast!
I made a website for our Seeing Eye puppy
raiser club with many photos of our activities. You can watch a video of "Venita's
Town Walk" in Morristown on YouTube. You can download a 16 MB PowerPoint of Venita here
(you don't need the program to play it). Read an article I wrote about raising puppies for The Seeing Eye,
"From Wolves to Guide Dogs"
and my book review of Susan Orlean's new book about Rin Tin Tin on my
blog of May 7, 2012.