My dear Fur Face Friday frequenters, do you remember Lisa? Here, I’ll jog your memory:
We raised Lisa, who is 3/4 Labrador and 1/4 golden retriever, to be a guide dog for the blind so when she was 15 months, she went back to school for her official training and we got little Ita.
Well, in December we got the call that we could come see her on her “final exam”, a walk through downtown. We met a volunteer at campus and with her, we followed Lisa and her trainer through town. She was wearing the official harness and looked quite official, except she has the absolute wiggliest butt when she walks. The volunteer says it’s a golden thing. She dodged people and ignored other dogs like a pro. She waited at intersections and even when commanded to go forward, she’d stay still if a car made a sudden turn. Then her trainer would pat her and praise her and Lisa would go “I’m a good girl!” And that tail would start waving!
We were about a block behind, but we had a pretty good view. I’m not sure if she recognized us, but she knew we were there for her. At one point, her trainer stopped her across the street and we could take pictures. (My mom started crying here.)
At the end of the walk, the volunteer took our cameras for some close ups and the trainer came back to speak with us. She assessed that she would be good for someone active and is great in the city (they take each dog in once or twice). She said she could tell we did a lot with her, like how my mom brought her to work, where there’s lots of construction and, as we watched, a big construction backhoe backed into the road behind her and she totally ignored her.
She thanked us, we thanked her, we went our separate ways.
And today we got...The Letter.
Congratulations, Lisa is officially a guide dog!
Lisa’s mom was thrilled from the start by her strong work ethic, intelligence, and sweet personality. They bonded quickly and will have many happy years ahead of them!
Her time spent at work with you has prepared her well for settling quietly in office meetings and napping during a long work day! Lisa’s new commute involves taking the train and crossing many busy streets while keeping her mom safe. Her mom loves the confidence she gets from working with Lisa and especially enjoys walking at a quick pace again.
Lisa’s mom wanted to be sure I conveyed her thanks for all of your hard work in raising her. Her obedience is stellar, her house manners impeccable, and her happy upbringing evident by her confident and loving personality. I [Lisa’s trainer] too am very grateful to you for raising such a wonderful dog and giving Lisa the best possible start to her training. I could not do what I do without your charity and dedication. She was bright, happy, and driven, three traits that make a truly terrific guide dog. Lisa was excited to go work everyday, and the expression on her cute little face when she gave me her best beseeching “please take me to town” eyes never failed to make me laugh. I am very proud of the guide dog she has become, and you should be too! Ladylike Lisa has truly blossomed into a real lady!
People ask all the time how we can raise them and give them up. This is how.
If you have any questions about guide dogs and raising them, you can read my post here or ask me in the comments! And don’t forget, if you ever see a dog in harness like the one Lisa is wearing, don’t pet! They’ve got an important job to do!