Adventures of Janice: Making a Difference
by volunteer Puppy Raiser Elora Hixon
Janice is doing great! This past week, it’s been extremely hot in Maine and she has come to love the water. But today, I’m not going to talk about Janice. Instead, I would like to talk about puppy raising in general.
As most of you know, raising a pup is a lot of work. You put your heart and soul into helping your pup succeed. You take them on outings, you go to puppy classes, you train at home, you deal with the vet and you get through it all – because every single raiser is strong. We have to be strong. Ask anyone if they could care for someone every day for 16 months and then let them go. I guarantee you that they will think you are crazy. It’s true, we are crazy. We love with all our hearts and then we have to say goodbye.
Whenever someone says, “I don’t know how you do it,” I just smile. I’m not going to lie, it’s extremely tough. But I always tell myself that I’m making a difference and I’m helping change someone’s life.
I’m fortunate to have not come across this issue yet, but I’ve thought about what it would be like if my pup didn’t pass his/her IFT test. I’m sure it would be heart breaking. I’m sure that I would think I had failed, asking questions like “If I did this better, would she have passed?”
The thing is – our dogs choose their careers. Some dogs are born to be guide dogs while others prefer to be police dogs or family pets. Does every person want to be a teacher? No. We choose our paths just like they choose theirs. We do our best, but in the end it’s up to the dogs to decide what they want to do with the rest of their lives.
I hope no one ever feels like they have failed if their pups don’t pass. All of us do our very best, and without puppy raisers, it would be impossible for Guiding Eyes to make a difference in so many people’s lives.
Note from Guiding Eyes: This post is a continuation in a series about pup-on-program Janice (3J412.) Yellow Labrador Janice was born on October 11th, 2012 to brood Fresca and sire Dell. She was one of 12 pups, 10 of whom are now living in puppy raising homes. Janice is being raised in the Maine Puppy Raising Region, and we look forward to sharing her ongoing adventures with raiser Elora Hixon!
Interested in raising a future guide dog? Learn more about our puppy raising program.