20 Years of Puppy Love

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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


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Author: Lisa J Radcliff

"Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together." ~ Psalm 34:3 This has been the theme verse for my life since I married Doug in 1985. I hope to write thoughts and stories that will magnify the Lord and cause others to praise him with me. As a survivor of child sexual abuse and other experiences that left me fearful and hopeless, I am so thankful that God has turned my life around. Having found freedom from my past, I have been blessed with a full, joy-filled life. I am passionate about sharing my story with others to bring them hope. My book, Hidden with Christ: Breaking Free from the Grip of Your Past, is my story of overcoming CSA. It is written differently than most books on abuse, highlighting the "heroes" God put in my life who kept me from be swallowed up by the darkness of abuse. God has used the book to help others find freedom which gives me great joy. The biggest joys of my life are being married to my husband, Doug, raising our three boys, welcoming our three daughters-in-law into the family, and being Mom-mom to our eight grandchildren! In addition, I have served in youth ministry and taught women's Bible Study for over 30 years.

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