Puppy Raiser Profile: Renee Mroz by Seth Lowe

 In News & Events

Puppy Raiser Renee Mroz
by Seth Lowe

About the author: Seth Lowe is a senior in high school from West Lafayette, Indiana. He enjoys playing many different instruments and writing music. He plans to pursue a career in musical education after attending Ball State University. Seth wrote this profile in conjunction with Renee Mroz as an assignment in a senior composition class taught by Kathy Nimmer, a Guiding Eyes graduate who is partnered with Nacho, a yellow lab guide dog.

Renee sits on the low stone wall at a National Park with a bridge over a river in the distance. At Renee's feet sits yellow lab Fortune.Renee Mroz is a woman who bravely decided to take on the challenge of doing good in this world. The path she chose was one of training service dogs for people who may be in need of them. She does this in addition to raising her three children and working from home. Renee has given back to the community many times previously with many days spent doing volunteer work for the community. She has done many things for the good of others and continues to do such things for the world. Renee Mroz has raised service dogs that have changed her life as well as many others’ lives.

Taking on raising a service dog is a big responsibility for all who are involved. People who take on this challenge have to change entire ways of life just to take care of and teach the puppies how to serve and protect the future owners; it can really change the everyday agenda of a person. The puppy requires constant attention and care to properly be raised. The process one has to go through to complete the training of a service dog is not a short one. The puppy has multiple stages of schooling that they are required to go through and constant day to day training as well. They wake up early every morning to be brought out and fed as well as being socialized and introduced to new things at least three times a week. As Renee puts it, “ I am responsible for a task that has to be met daily, weekly, and monthly. For example, the pup gets up early, needs to be parked (pottied), fed, and parked again.” Doing this every single day for months gives her a regimented life and gives her responsibilities that have helped her grow. She stated that as someone gets older, you have fewer opportunities to develop new skills and that this puppy has allowed her to be able to do that.

Renee holds the leash of black lab Yogi who tries on the leather guide dog harness after a walk and talk evaluation.People take on this challenge for many different reasons. For Renee, it was a way for her to volunteer and give back. For a larger part of her life, she has almost always been involved in some form of volunteer work. She has done volunteer work in classrooms, the town soccer league, PTA, and more. At first, she looked into fostering rescue dogs but ultimately decided on raising service dogs after a little convincing of her husband. She had heard about the organization Guiding Eyes for the Blind through her husband’s cousin who happened to volunteer at that school. Guiding Eyes for the Blind is a guide dog training school that works in the Northeast region of the United States. Since Guiding Eyes is located in New York, this made it an easy choice for her, along with the fact that she was interested in all of the training and fellowship that Guiding Eyes offers. Guiding Eyes has strict rules when it comes to making sure all of the puppies that leave are healthy and in good shape to grow and learn. This is yet another reason she chose this very distinguished organization. It gave her an opportunity to keep volunteering as well as make a big difference in people’s lives.

Renee chose to raise puppies for Guiding Eyes for a few different reasons. She loves dogs and wanted to take on this challenge, although at first, she was not sure if she could accomplish this goal because it is a very daunting task. Fortunately, she discovered she is very good with dogs as it came easily and naturally to her. She has always been amazed at how these dogs are able to do so much for people. She stated, “I am in awe of service animals, dogs specifically. The jobs that a dog can perform blow my mind.” She loves being able to hear stories about how much one of her dogs has helped someone or that her dog knew what to do in difficult situations. She feels as if dogs have a preternatural way of knowing how people feel and that this connection is further improved through the process of being a service dog. Another reason she chose this method of making a difference is that she often gets nervous or anxious in group settings. She feels as if she would not be able to fulfill her obligations if she had been forced into one of these public or group situations. With the service dogs, she does not feel this same pressure and doesn’t have to be outgoing and full of ebullience: she can just be herself. In fact, sometimes when she is in public with a dog it is necessary to give the dog distance from the crowd, so it gives her a reason to stand back and let the dog get comfortable. This also gives Renee a chance to get comfortable and relax.

Renee and her husband pose for a photo with a table set up to promote Guiding Eyes during a street fair.Taking on the responsibilities of raising a service dog can greatly impact the people partaking. The more it is done, the more confidence the raiser gains in their ability. It forces the raiser to develop new skills to be able to do this properly. They have to have immeasurable amounts of patience to be able to deal with the puppy. “With puppies, the more excited or upset or frustrated I get, the less the pup can listen to me. So I have to stay calm, use my body language and slow down,” says Renee. This shows that her demeanor can also be very important in raising. This has enabled her to further develop her patience as well as responsibility. Renee has said that she is constantly developing new skills and learning new things. Raising service dogs has greatly benefited her mental and emotional state, however, taking care of this puppy has done things for her physical life as well. Taking the puppy out on walks and socializing it have all been ways of keeping her active. Though raising a puppy can be stressful, these activities can do good as well for a person. When they first got the puppy Renee had another dog in the house that was her personal house pet. This dog happened to be fairly aggressive with feeding so she had to make sure that the puppy was getting enough food every time it ate. Naturally, this added on a bit of stress having to keep track of the dog and keeping it happy and healthy along the journey.

Renee and her daughter pose for a photo with black lab Yogi after his graduation from the Connecticut State Police detection program. The pair are joined by Yogi's new handler and his family.As previously mentioned, Renee has three children. This can be another good thing for both the dog and the raiser. Having children around the house allows for many opportunities to help the dog become more friendly and calm around people. This also makes taking care of the dog a little bit easier as there are more people in the house to take care of the dog and make sure it is getting everything it needs to grow and thrive. While this is true Renee believes that having children in the house does not affect the way she raises the puppy to be the service dog it will soon grow up to be.

Renee Mroz is a woman who has been raising service dogs for an organization called Guiding Eyes for the Blind. This organization is a group that raises and trains service dogs for people who have vision loss. She has been doing this for some time and continues to be doing it to this very day. She has taken on this challenge to do some good for those in need. This has changed her life and others in many ways. She has grown as a person as a result as it has taught her responsibility and helped her to become a more patient individual. It has also kept her active and social in her personal life. Renee has devoted a multitude of hours and days and even months to benefit others around her. Renee is a puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

 

Learn more about puppy raising

Two puppy raisers pose with a black lab during class. The black lab is in a sit position and wears her blue Guiding Eyes training vest.Eli Manning stands in front of a step and repeat at a Guiding Eyes event while holding an adorable yellow lab puppy.
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