First litter of guide dog puppies to be trained in Sask. arrive in Regina
The first litter of puppies to be trained in Saskatchewan as guide dogs made their debut in Regina on Sunday.
Percy, Wallace, Indy and Lulu completed the last leg of their journey from their birthplace in Australia, and will be setting off on a new one to become CNIB guide dogs.
“They will be trained later on in our Ottawa facility, but for their first 12 to 15 months they'll be trained right here in Saskatchewan,” said Christall Beaudry, the Executive Director of CNIB Saskatchewan.
The Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever cross puppies will be moving into four new homes to live with their puppy raisers, who will help train and socialize them for around one year.
Christopher Adams, a first time puppy raiser, got to meet his new dog Percy on Saturday.
“As everyone will tell you, it's a lot like preparing for a toddler,” said Adams. “It's ultimately about helping a blind person or a vision impaired person have the opportunity to have more flexibility, more independence, more confidence.”
The first year is an important one for the guide dogs in training, so CNIB puppy Raising Supervisor Carl McIntosh will be assisting in the teaching of the puppies throughout the year.
“When they come in for formal training, it puts some stress on the dog, so we want them to be comfortable in every kind of situation there is,” said McIntosh.
The dogs will be getting lots of preparation for their role as guide dogs over the next 12 months, which Beaudry said is important to help them adjust to the next step of their training.
“Things like making sure they're comfortable in public places, and in large crowds, because a guide dog will have to work with their handler in those type of circumstances,” said Beaudry.