Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordful Wednesday: Destined to Lead

I am participating in Wordful Wednesday, sponsored by Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

Founded by three Detroit area Lions Clubs members in 1939, Leader Dogs for the Blind provides dog guides to people who are blind and visually impaired to enhance their mobility, independence and quality of life.

Leader dogs are raised by volunteer puppy raisers. Leader Dogs could not be provided without the assistance of volunteer puppy raisers.

There are nearly 400 puppy raisers in 22 states and Canada. Puppy raisers travel to Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester, Michigan, to pick up and return their puppies.

Seventy percent of puppy raisers raise more than one puppy in their lifetime.
Puppy raisers receive their puppies at 7 to 8 weeks of age and return them to Leader Dogs for the Blind between 12 and 15 months of age.

Puppy raisers teach puppies basic obedience, house manners and good etiquette while exposing the puppies to all types of environments, such as:

  • Churches, stores, amusement parks, sporting events
  • Different types of people
  • Different types of floors and stairs
  • Different sorts of animals, including squirrels, cats, birds, dogs and farm animals
  • Loud sirens
  • Busy sidewalks and bicycles.

Some puppy raisers are able to take their puppy to work with them . Puppy raisers are responsible for meeting at least monthly with their puppy counselor. Volunteer puppy counselors are regionally placed. Counselors organize obedience lessons and exposure opportunities for the puppies.

Puppies who see and experience a large variety of environments during the first year of their lives will be more confident when exposed to future experiences .
Raisers provide health care, food and necessary supplies for the puppies.

Raisers have the privilege of naming the puppies.

Puppy raisers follow very specific guidelines, such as:
  • When puppies are in public wearing their “Future Leader Dog” bandannas or jackets, they are expected to be clean and well mannered.
  • Puppies will be taught to stay off furniture .
  • Puppies are expected to lay quietly at meal time and not beg.

Each month, approximately 30, 1-year-old puppies are returned to Leader Dogs for the Blind to begin formal training .

My friend, Kristi, has raised 9 puppies to date. They have all been Yellow Labs up to this point.

Moses, the love of our lives, was her first. He went everywhere with her, restaurants, church, the grocery store. No place is off limits to Future Leader Dogs. Anywhere a blind person would be welcome, these puppies are welcome.
After a year with Kristi, Moses was returned to start training, and Kristi took another puppy home. Not long after, she got a call. One hip was not perfect, and did she want him back? That was easy! So I picked him up part way home, and drove him the rest of the way to her house. Two of my boys rode along, and fell in love. How could you not? But Kristi had plans for him. We bid a tearful goodbye, and I whispered "If your plans fall through, call us." And that's what happened.

Kristi is devoted to raising these wonderful dogs, and giving them a terrific head start for the life they are going to lead. This German Shepherd/Lab mix will be her tenth! Moses was a "Career Change", one is undergoing training now, and 7 have been placed as Leader Dogs.

Which brings us to the puppy at hand.

Your task, privilege, is to come up with a name for this puppy. She will be picked up in Rochester, Michigan on October 3. The name will be decided before then, so that it can be put on the formal documents. (Once she has the puppy home, I'll be able to publish a photo of the actual puppy you have named. The one that has appeared so far is a photo furnished by Leader Dog of a former Shepherd pup).

Tomorrow, check back for names Kristi used for previous puppies. And I'll have info on the prize for this new Great Poprs Giveaway, too!


Susie said...

How about Fallon? It means leader:-)

Michelle said...

How about Bruiser? :) He is too cute and what your friend is doing is wonderful.

angie said...

How about Pal? :)

Sweet Annabelle said...

How about a seasonal name - Pumpkin or Punkin' ...?

Aunt Julie said...

Thanks for the suggestions! Keep them coming, and remember, the puppy is a female!

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