Dee, my partner, and I welcome Odessa into our fold! Odessa began life as a Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy. Dee and I are Guide Dogs volunteers. Last spring, Dee decided she wanted to raise a Guide Dog puppy. She picked Odessa up from the Guide Dogs puppy truck in Tacoma, Washington on March 7, 2010. Odessa, a black Labrador Retriever, was just 10 weeks old and completely adorable!
Guide Dogs for the Blind does what its name says, provide seeing eye dogs for blind and visually impaired people. The main campus is in San Rafael, California. There is also a campus in Boring, Oregon. The dogs live with volunteer raisers for up to 18 months before they return to either the San Rafael or Boring campus for formalized training. The volunteer raisers socialize the puppies and teach them basic commands. After they return to campus, the dogs learn to work in harness. Sometimes the dogs are not chosen to return to campus and instead are placed in pet homes. This is called a “career change.”
We raised Odessa in our home from March until late November 2010. Odessa is very smart, but very energetic. Her wild streak made her a challenge to raise. In November, she was transferred to a more experienced puppy raiser in the hopes that the experienced raiser could better help Odessa with her training issues.
Dee is partial to black Labs. Her favorite dog, Certs, was a Lab-Australian Shepherd Mix. Dee got Certs when he was 8 weeks old. Certs was Dee’s companion and kept the world safe for her until his death at 16 years old. Dee and Odessa formed a special bond. It was tough to let Odessa go, but she did belong to Guide Dogs and had a higher calling. We both believed Odessa would make a great Guide Dog.
Dee was ecstatic when she received a call saying that Odessa would not continue in the Guide Dog program and would we like to have Odessa as our pet. We are sorry that Odessa did not progress in the program, but we are very happy to have her as our pet. Welcome home, Odessa!