❝ Being a Puppy Raiser is so important, because I’m able to support a community that is so special to me. Many of my students will rely on guide dogs later in life, and I’m thankful I have the opportunity to be involved in raising future guide dogs. ❞
Laura Fricker, Richmond Region Puppy Raiser
In Recognition of Your Cuteness and Commitment…
Recently, Pup-on-Program Mabel, as well as Irish, guide dog of Guiding Eyes graduate Dan Martin, were honored with appreciation awards from The Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind. Employees receive service awards for their years of service with the State of Virginia, and Pat Rice, Superintendent at the school, wanted to recognize their dedicated four legged employees as well. Mabel and Irish were presented with certificates that included “In Recognition of Your Cuteness and Commitment”. Laura Fricker, Mabel’s puppy raiser, is a Teacher of the Visually Impaired at The Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, and she shares her story.
“After the COVID outbreak in 2020, I was ready for a big change in my life and career. I had been teaching special education in the Richmond area for four years and was ready for something new. After a little bit of searching, I found a job posting for a Teacher of Visual Impairments at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind. I interviewed, was offered the position, and moved to Charlottesville.
My first year at VSDB was amazing, and the blind and visually impaired community at the school accepted and embraced me immediately and wholeheartedly. I knew I wanted to give back in some way, and I chose to become a puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes.
Being a Puppy Raiser is so important, because I’m able to support a community that is so special to me. Many of my students will rely on guide dogs later in life, and I’m thankful I have the opportunity to be involved in raising future guide dogs.
Additionally, it has been a fantastic learning opportunity for the students, in both our deaf department and blind department, to see how a guide dog is “created”. One of my coworkers is a guide dog user, and he and his dog are Guiding Eyes graduates. The students have an example of a fully trained guide dog, as well as a pup in training. Mabel has been going to work with me at the school since she was 10 weeks old and is now two months shy of her IFT. I owe my wonderful school community for helping to raise Mabel to be such a fantastic, dedicated, and loving potential guide dog.”