I love dogs.
It doesn’t matter what breed, what size, how old. In the majority of cases, dogs respond to me, and I get trashed (and love it).
I met Georgie today, not once, but twice, as her owner and I were walking our dogs in between rain showers.
Georgie is an eleven month old golden retriever, and in four weeks, she will leave her current owner and be sent for training…………. as a Guide Dog.
Not only do we have Dogs for the Blind, but also Assistant Dogs and Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.
All fantastic charities for improving someone’s quality of life, getting them out of the house and giving them more independence.
Georgie is a handful. She is boisterous and wants to play, and her owner found it difficult to hold her as she strained at the lead in her exuberance.
But, she is allowed to be a puppy, to do puppy things, and her current owner’s task is to house-train, walk to lead, exercise and socialise her before passing her on for ‘the Heavy Stuff’.
Once trained, her details will be passed on and she will be allocated to a specific person, then their training with the dog will begin.
Georgie is this gentleman’s 16th Under Training Guide Dog, and number 17 will no doubt shortly follow later in the year.
My post isn’t going to be about their training, the time frame involved, or anything else to do with this noble cause as you can get all that from the Internet.
This is just my view, as some dogs are just ‘special’, and go on to become police or sniffer dogs too.
I saw a programme about police dogs, and the main handler knew which of the GSD pups would make a good police dog, and those that wouldn’t.
He picked up this gorgeous ball of fluff, cuddled it to his face and said
‘You don’t want to be a police dog, do you?’
And was practically licked to death.
Nothing wrong with the pup, but the handler knew what traits to look for, and that particular chap would be homed elsewhere.
I came to know a gentleman who operated the switchboard for one of the major banks in the High Street. His guide dog was called Cindy, and they raised thousands of pounds with sponsored walks and the like.
Another lady I met had 3 guide dogs, though two were actually retired and were allowed to stay with her. She gave talks on a regular basis, her faithful companions curled up beside her or under the table. When one died, she was overwhelmed with the support and sympathy cards she received from so many people who had attended her meetings.
An acquaintance on our dog walks had 2 labradors, both of which actually gone through all the training but were rejected at the final stage as one was a little too timid and the other easily distracted.
A dog’s training has to start in the early days, be it a household pet or one selected for these special courses.
Dogs are not only Man’s Best Friend, they can also be their lifeline.