This week, as Seeing Eye puppy #22 tripped me on the stairs, twice, I thought, “You will not make a good guide dog.” That thought was quickly followed by, “I should be a better puppy raiser by now.” That’s when I realized we just passed our 20-year anniversary of raising Seeing Eye puppies!
When we started, I never thought we would still be doing it 20 years later. It was just something fun for the boys, to teach them character. Then it turned into a 16-year career, another surprise. We started when our youngest son was 3 years old. He just received his first Seeing Eye puppy as a married man, exactly 20 years after our first puppy arrived.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned when raising puppies over and over again. Here are few:
Puppies chew things you don’t think they would.
Children give things to puppies to chew you don’t think they would.
Puppy breath smells like coffee to me. Maybe that’s why I don’t like coffee.
What goes in must come out.
Puppies can turn big, burly men to mush.
Puppies will love you unconditionally. They never hold a grudge. They are always happy to see you.
We are currently raising #22 and also have #16 who is a retired guide. He worked in NYC. Shortly into their partnership, his blind master called The Seeing Eye asking for help because #16 didn’t seem to know where their home was located. He would walk down their street of row homes and consistently arrive at the wrong house. They sent an instructor out to observe. What he saw was a dog with a sense of humor. The instructor explained to the dog’s master that he knew exactly which house was his. As they got closer, he would start to wag his tail and get excited before walking her up to the wrong front door. She would figure out it wasn’t her house, and scold him. His tail wagged even more, he would turn her around and bounce down the walk and right to her door. He was doing it on purpose to get a laugh. That’s who he was, the class clown. We seem to specialize in class clowns, which has made this endeavor tons of fun.
I could go on and on, but why bother when I have all these cute pictures. Thank you, Seeing Eye, for allowing us to be a part of your wonderful puppy program and share in your mission.
“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.” Proverbs 20:12