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Why I Raise Puppies for Leader Dogs for the Blind

Why volunteer to raise a Future Leader Dog (FLD) puppy from 7 weeks to one year?  Why take on the most time consuming and important phase of dog ownership when you're not even going to own the dog when you're done?

I call it "puppy lust."

Puppy breath, puppy kisses, puppy snuggles, puppy wobbles, soft puppy fur.  All the "awwwwwws" that flow around you as you walk your FLD-bandana-ed puppy through a crowd; the smiles pulled from cell phone talkers, pre-occupied worriers, day-dreamers.

Puppy lust is the joy you feel when your puppy first "sits" on command and looks up at you as if saying, "Did I get it right?"  At that moment there seems to be something more than instinct working behind those sweet little eyes, and you know that one day this animal will develop into an extraordinary companion.

And yes, puppy lust includes the trials of training your puppy that "parking" in the house is not allowed.  ("Park" is the Leader Dog command given when the dog needs to poop or pee.)  In the instant when your puppy whines, runs to the back door, and scratches against it in desperation, you realize that your consistency, your attentiveness is paying off and that furry little creature is LEARNING.

It is for these reasons, and more, that I volunteer to raise Future Leader Dog puppies.  Of course, the proverbial icing-on-the-cake is knowing that the result of my effort may one day enrich another person's life in ways that I can't imagine.

6 comments:

  1. As someone who has several friends who have benefited from Leader Dogs... thank you.

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  2. You, and your friends, are welcome! (Thanks for reading.)

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  3. As the wife of a LD partner I can tell you that our lives have indeed been enriched. We are blessed beyond measure and greatly reap the benefits of the work of fabulous volunteers and trainers. As hesitant as I was to have an animal in the house, thanks to all the work it has been smooth sailing. Who knew there was such a thing as doggie etiquette? But thanks to the teaching that our LD come to us with, there hasn't been much to adjust too. But there have however been a lot of things to love about having a LD around. You all really make it easy for us non-partners to get accustomed to having a LD around.

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  4. Thanks, scarletsfire! We don't often think about the other family members in the working dog's household--nice to know that what we do help work things out for you too. Thanks for reading!

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  5. PB just stopped by to check out your blog. Well done! Keep up the great work.

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  6. Todd! Thanks for stopping by!

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