Guide Dog User Lifestyle

So what is it actually like to live with and use a guide dog? So for this weeks post in honor of National Service Dog Month I’ll try to answer that question. But since I have no personal experience I found a couple of videos produced by Guide Dogs for the Blind that give some ideas of what it is like.

I also found this podcast interview with Bea Hawkins, 93, on her eighth Guide Dog. Listen in to this delightful conversation with a truly charming lady who is thoroughly in love with her Guide Dog. (12 minutes.)

Bea Hawkins Interview

I’ve learned so much over the past few years of being a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind about what it is like to have a guide dog but I still only have a glimmer of what it is like. Age related Macular Degeneration runs in my family so I could go blind in my old age. I hope that I will have the courage to learn orientation and mobility skills so that I could have a guide dog. I love the freedom and independence that a guide dog brings to it handler. That is why I’m a puppy raiser. I didn’t know that when I started raising. Then it was about being able to take my dog to places that pets can’t go. I still love that but it is more about being making a difference in the world in a positive way. I still love being able to take these puppies into all kinds of places. I also love getting to know each dog and enjoying their amazing personalities. But the real payback is the impact these dogs have on people’s lives.

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National Service Dog Month

September in National Service Dog Month in the United States. So this month I thought I’d highlight guide dogs in my weekly puppy posts. This week I decided to start with how a little about training guide dogs. Guide Dogs for the Blind did a series of videosĀ  a few years ago by following a trainer through San Fransisco. It shows one dog, Solana and some of what a training session is like.

This first video show the dogs loading up in the morning. It is the longest video and the least interesting in most ways. So if your pressed for time skip this one or if you really like the others come back to this one.

In this video show unloading the dogs from the training van, harnessing up and starting off down the street in San Fransisco.

This video features training on escalators and subway platforms.

In the last video you get to meet Solana’s partner on her graduation day.