A Puppy Raiser Gives Thanks
by Volunteer Puppy Raiser Laura Marth
This is the time of the year when we think back and reflect on all we are thankful for. Guiding Eyes for the Blind is a big part of what I am grateful for in my own life. I think back on the puppies I have raised and I can’t help but think of all who take part in the process.
I am thankful to my family more than they will ever know. There have been sleepless nights, sick puppies to tend to, accidents to clean up and lots of, “hang on until I’m finished with the puppy.” I could never do this alone.
I am thankful for the people at the Canine Development Center for the love and care that they give. They are the first human voices that my puppies hear and the first loving hands that touch them.
I am thankful for the brood and stud fosters. They lovingly care for the breeding dogs and give them special attention and lots exercise to keep them healthy. They give countless rides back and forth to breeding center for their dogs “dates.” Without them, I’d wouldn’t have puppies to raise.
I am thankful for the home socializers and those that do home litter care. They have multiple puppies to care for and they learn to do their daily tasks holding them in their arms.
I am thankful for the transporters who volunteer their time and make multiple stops on the thruway to deliver puppies to their raisers. Some trips are noisier than others and some trips run much later than anticipated.
I am thankful for the anticipation that still overwhelms me when I am waiting for a new puppy to be delivered. I am still so excited to see the van door open and to meet the newest love of my life for the first time.
I am thankful for my growing puppies. I have learned more about patience and love from my dogs than I may ever learn from any person.
I am thankful for the many people who see me out and about with my puppies. I am thankful they have never had me committed for asking if my pup can “meet” their scary looking garden hose, or for letting me take my puppy up their open-back stairs when I hardly even know them.
I am thankful for the Guiding Eyes Erie Region who have helped me become the Puppy Raiser I am today. They’ve taught me so much and reminded me about the many wonderful people in this world. There is always a shoulder to cry on, and always someone who understands how exciting it can be to raise your own “grandpup!”
I am thankful for the guide dog instructors and kennel staff. They take the puppies that I raised and make them their puppies. They bring out their best qualities and see them mature under their watchful eyes – only to give them away when the perfect matches are found.
I am thankful for the staff of the Training School, who make a Puppy Raiser feel like a superstar at every visit. It’s because of them that Guiding Eyes is such a special place for visitors and graduates alike.
I am thankful for the graduates who take the puppies I raised and put their trust, care and love into what becomes their guiding eyes. There is nothing more humbling than to watch my dog walk into the room at graduation, and to hear a graduate talk about how wonderful the puppy is that I raised.
I am so very thankful for the puppies I raised. I appreciate their patience with me and their forgiveness, even if I make a mistake. I am thankful for the puppy kisses when I have had a bad day, even if I didn’t ask for them. I am thankful for them showing me that a released puppy doesn’t mean I have failed; it means they were put on this Earth for something else that is equally important. I am thankful that they needed my hand to guide them, even if it was to be someone else’s cherished pet and I am thankful for the adopters who now love them as well.
I am thankful for the guide dogs I have raised. They never discriminate or judge and are always faithful to their partners. They remind me that there is no “I” in team and that together with their partner they can go on to do great things.
This Thanksgiving and every day, I am thankful that I am a Puppy Raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind.