Eagle Scout Ray Schmidt Gives Puppy Socialization a Hand-Crafted Touch

Guiding Eyes puppy North and his brothers and sisters at our Canine Development Center (CDC) can’t stop showering volunteer Ray Schmidt with all the puppy love. Why? He recently dropped off very special gifts for our puppies – three new sets of ramps custom-built by his Eagle Scout troop!

Ray grew up in Yorktown Heights, NY, not far from the Guiding Eyes Headquarters and Training campus, and always knew he wanted to volunteer for the organization when he was old enough. As a Boy Scout for seven years, he knew this project would be the perfect opportunity to get involved.Eagle Scout Ray Schmidt sits with the N litter at the CDC“I chose this project not only to help me earn the rank of Eagle Scout, but also to help the amazing staff at Guiding Eyes train the puppies and dogs who will go on to help many people around the world,” Ray said.Ray worked together with Chris Ravetto, who manages the puppies’ early development before they head out to puppy raisers, to develop the perfect puppy socialization wish-list: a structure that is lightweight; has stairs, a ramp, and a tunnel for tight spaces; and can be cleaned daily.

Ramps built by the Eagle Scouts

Ray, his father, and the Eagle Scout troop got hard to work. In just a few days, they hit everything on our wish-list and more. Guiding Eyes was gifted with three interchangeable ramp sets that now reside in the early socialization room at the CDC and are used daily.

“The ramp sets are a wonderful way to incorporate play and learning at the same time. Our six to ten-week-old puppies can practice stairs, get accustomed to small spaces in the tunnels, and walk over uneven surfaces – all skills that they need to be comfortable with while working as a guide dog,” Chris explained. “A big thank you to Ray and all the Scouts that helped make this possible.”