Eyes for Others is the Yolo County club for Guide Dog Puppy Raisers. They are affiliated with Guide Dogs for the Blind. Raisers can be anywhere in the county, but most of them seem to be in Davis. The majority of local raisers are UCD students or youth raisers.
Guide Dogs for the Blind uses Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Lab/Golden crosses, and German Shepherds as guides, but Labs are by far the most common. Raisers are given 8 week old pups and will continue to care for and train them until they are 16-18 months old, when they are returned to Guide Dogs for formal training at their San Rafael campus. There is a lot of work involved with raising and there are a lot of reasons for pups to be dropped from the program, including poor health or behavioral issues. Just because a pup doesn't make it does not necessarily reflect poorly on the raiser. Not every puppy is cut out for guide dog work, so each graduate is special and ready for the job. Puppies who don't make it are given the name 'Career Changes' and can be made into normal (though well-trained) pets or another type of service dog.
If you see someone with a puppy-in-training (identified by the dogs' green vests), please ask before you pet the puppy. They are very cute, but they are being trained not to be distracted by strangers or their environment. Petting them can get the puppy into trouble with their raiser, who will have to correct the puppy for the distraction. You can ask the raiser if you may approach and pet the puppy. Some might say no, due to their own pup's behavioral tendencies (they may be too young to behave just yet), but some raisers will say yes. Most businesses will allow puppies-in-training to enter, which is helpful in training for different environments, even though they are not required to by law (the law only applies to fully certified guide dogs).
For information on Puppy Raising, go to the website and click 'Contacts'. They also post a calendar of meetings/outings if you just want to show up and check it out.
Wiki users who have raised one or more puppies for GDftB include:
2008-01-21 12:39:17 This group is a clique and they do not like to let others into their clique. I do know this because I was involved with them and found working with them so stressful. I do not recommend joining this group. While Guide Dogs for the Blind is a wonderful organization, it is only this local group that I had problems with. —isabella
2008-04-02 22:24:06 I'm sorry "Isabella" felt that way, but that is really not true. We love having new people join the group, and we encourage anyone who has any interest in Guide Dogs for the Blind to attend our meetings, and please consider joining. Guide Dogs wouldn't be the organization it is today if it weren't for the many people that continue to join us and help GDB grow. We are all in it for the common goal of creating a miracle for the visually impaired in the form of a guide dog. —JuliannePhillips
2008-04-27 19:14:14 I should clarify for you, "Julianne", Guide Dogs is a fine organization, the local Yolo County club is a joke. During the time I was involved with them, their monthly meetings consisted of fundraising and talking about ideas for fundraising, of which, none of the money actually went to the puppy raisers, or at least not me or the other puppy raisers I talked with. So "Julianne", where does all your fundraising money go?
2008-04-27 21:35:05 As I understand, the fundraising money pays for the twice-monthly outings so that raisers do not have to pay to go to required events, as well as puppy jackets, kennels that are shared through the club, x-pens, and other club supplies. The money does not go to the raisers directly, but makes it so they are only responsible for their puppy's needs as agreed to when they were given the puppy and so that they don't have to miss required events due to finances. The money is for the organization, not the individuals, just like in any club. —AllisonEriksen