|Mark and Banta|
Banta graduated as a guide dog today with her handler Mark. We had a chance to see Banta and meet Mark before the official handing off ceremony.
We arrived at the Guide dogs for the Blind campus at about 11:30 a.m. and gathered with the other puppy raisers in the dormitory day room. A little while later we were escorted to a sitting area down one of the wings of the dorm where Banta and Mark were sitting. Banta just looked at us for a few seconds as we approached while she processed who we were. You could just see her mind at work and when she realized who we were she got all excited and let loose with lots of hopping and jumping around. We spent several minutes just enjoying her antics. When Banta settled back down we had some time to get to know Mark and hear about how their training went. It seems that in the almost 7 months that Banta has been on campus she has gathered quite a fan club. Lots of people stopped by during class to say good-bye to Banta.
Mark said that Banta was everything he asked for in his next guide except for her size. He is accustomed to larger dogs but when the instructors asked what was the least important of his criteria for a guide he said size. Banta fit the rest of his requirements perfectly. He calls her “Little Bit” because she is only 20.5″ tall compare to 24″ with his previous guide. We are looking forward to hearing about how they develop as a team. And maybe next year we will plan a trip to Denver to see Banta again and see where she now calls home.