Report from the Kennels: What do we do all day?
by Guiding Eyes dog Keating
Hi my name is Keating. I’m a big yellow Labrador with brown eyes and a dark nose. My ears have a little bit more brown than the rest of my body; some people say they are caramel-colored. (I’ve heard that caramel is quite yummy… does anyone else agree?)
I was asked to write about what all of us dogs do each day when we’re living in the Training School kennels. Our days begin around 7:30am, when the kennel
staff comes to say good morning. They look over every single dog to make sure we’re happy and healthy and that we’ve had a good night. I have two roommates – yellow Labs Namath and Bogie. They’re both great guys and I love playing with them, but sometimes Namath snores a bit!
Around 8:00 we go outside for community run, which is one of my favorite times of the day. We run around and act super silly with all of our friends. During the winter, we love when it snows… it’s always exciting to stick our faces in the snow and dig exuberantly – you never know what you might find!
When community run time is over, we head back inside with our roommates. Shortly afterwards, our instructors start loading us into the training vans. I always try to catch a snooze on the way to work – all that playtime can be a little tiring!
I’ve spent training days in Yorktown, Peekskill, Mount Kisco, Katonah and White Plains. We’ve also worked in Manhattan a few times; that’s one of the best spots. With so many people on the streets, it can be a real challenge to navigate through the crowds. My trainers provided a lot of support and direction in the beginning, but now the decisions are up to me. I love the responsibility, and I’ve gotten to the point where I pretty much always get it right!
Sometimes we’ll be out with our trainers all day, whereas other times we’ll come back at lunchtime. When we come back in the middle of the day, we hop out of the vans and play in the community run for a little while. Then we’ll head back inside for an early afternoon nap! (I tend to lie on my back when I nap – sometimes the kennel staff takes funny pictures of me with my legs up in the air, snoring happily. Oops… Did I just admit I snore? Ok, it’s not just Namath…)
The rest of the afternoon is always a little bit different. Lots of nice volunteers come visit us and spend one-on-one time doing interesting things. We’ll go for quiet walks on the Guiding Eyes nature path or head into the massage room to spend a relaxing hour with specially trained massage volunteers. Other days we’ll play with “special toys” – the ones that are super fun to play with but really easy to destroy!
At 4:00pm, we get to go outside and play in large groups again. In the summer, the trainers set up pools filled with water for us to splash around in. I absolutely love playing with all the toys they put out – particularly the big jolly balls! It is so much fun to run around with the ball in my mouth; I love it when my friends chase me!
While we’re outside playing with our trainers, the kennel staff prepares our runs for the evening. They put comfy beds down and give us Nylabones to chew on while we get ready to sleep. We’re usually pretty tired when we come in, and the kennel is quiet while everyone happily winds down for the day.
Night check is at 10pm, and a kennel staff member comes through the runs one more time to visit us and say goodnight. Even when they leave, we know we’re not entirely alone; two people live in an apartment above the kennel and are always available in case of an emergency.
It’s a pretty great life here at Guiding Eyes… but I know that I won’t be here forever. In just a couple weeks I’ll have the chance to be matched with my life partner – and to fulfill the destiny I was bred and raised for.
Interested in volunteering in our kennels and spending time with special dogs like Keating? Learn more about our volunteer opportunities here.