I watched 'Through a Dog’s Eyes’ on PBS tonight. It is always so amazing watching the process of training and then placing service animals. Watching it made me realize two things: 1) that I love raising guide dog puppies, even though I don’t get to see much of them after they leave my home, I know that they have and are changing lives. 2) it just confirmed what I had decided to do with my life. There were several kids getting assistant animals on the show, seeing how excited they got and what a positive outlook on life they had just made me smile. I am 99% sure I want to be a special ed teacher; I get to work with several autistic children every week either with babysitting or doing therapy and I love every minute of my time with them. Raising puppies has taught me so much that has helped with working with these special kids from using positive reinforcement to keeping learning fun and I am so grateful for that.
When I first looked in to raising for an service animal organization 7 years ago (has it really been that long!?!) I had attended a meeting about working with canine assistants (which the show was about). They had two gorgeous goldens who did so many commands it was quite fascinating. I was too far away to actually work with a puppy and since I wanted to raise a puppy I continued on my search and found a wonderful organization through a co-worker of my dad who was a puppy raiser. They had a huge group in my city and I fell instantly in love, especially when they let me work a 5 month old puppy, named Bristol at my first meeting, I was hooked at that point.
I never get tired of watching individuals with service animals; I am honored enough to see them all around campus and it is truly amazing how the team works together in unison. Watching this show showed a side that most puppy raisers don’t get to see and that is how all that hard work truly changes peoples lives. I could not help but think about my boys as I watched this show and the lives they have and will change. It just reiterated how I would much rather go through the pain of loving and letting go of a puppy, so that someone else can have freedom and independence.
If you have not watched 'Through a Dog’s Eyes’ yet, I would strongly recommend it!