Video: Life as a Puppy Raiser

At Guiding Eyes, we recognize and appreciate the invaluable contributions of our dedicated volunteers, like high school English teacher and NoVA-North puppy raiser, Deborah Wydra and her husband Paul. This heartfelt 14 1/2 minute video showcases her dedication to training and socializing yellow Lab Ike, and touches on several aspects of raising a Guiding Eyes puppy.  Voice of America cameras joined Deb and Ike at her workplace, a classroom of students, which provides a unique socialization experience for Ike. We also get a glimpse of life at home with Ike and the Wydras, their last “Walk & Talk” assessment, and then witness the emotional moment when Ike leaves for the next phase of his journey to become a guide dog. Whether you’re interested in becoming a raiser or curious for an inside glimpse, watch this inspiring story of love, dedication, and the bittersweet joy of raising a guide dog puppy.

Deb and Paul Wydra are currently raising German Shepherd Gretel, and Ike is at the Yorktown Training School in formal guide dog training.  

Volunteer puppy raisers, like the Wydras, play a vital role at Guiding Eyes. Guiding Eyes currently works with around 450 puppy raising volunteers and is currently in urgent need of more puppy raisers. These dedicated volunteers take on the responsibility to provide love and care, teach house manners and foundational obedience, as well as essential skills to our puppies, preparing them for formal guide dog training. Puppy raisers also provide a variety of socialization opportunities, mirroring real guide dog experiences, to positively build adaptability and confidence in the pup they are raising.

If you are interested in learning more about this program, please visit our Puppy Raising pages.

The Voice of America (VOA) is an international multimedia broadcaster with service in more than 40 languages. Voice of America provides news, information, and cultural programming through the Internet, mobile and social media, radio, and television.