MY VISITS TO GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND
First Visit – Private Tour
When I got out of the car I was surprised! I saw a picture of a GIGANTIC dog on the door. I was at the guide dogs for the blind in San Rafael with Lucy, her mom my mom and me. I walked in, I was startled I saw about 300 dogs in the room and only a few of them were barking I thought, this is quiet. Then suddenly a lady walked in the room, her nametag read, Lauren.
A little later we walked into her office. I asked some of my questions I wanted to know. Then we set off toward some guide dogs. We walked in, it was really quiet. I pet one of the dogs, their fur was soft. I saw a bone on the floor then I asked if I could give it to one of them she said yes so I looked around to find a dog that didn’t have a bone.
There was a lot of dogs that had a bone then I finally found one without a bone. I dropped it in. Boy that dog was jumping like crazy when I gave her the bone. Then Ms. Lauren showed us a chart of poop and my mom freaked out. Then we went out to get our stuff in her office and we left and headed home. That was fun, I thought.
Second Visit – Graduation Day
I was waiting at the door of the Guide Dog Center. Then suddenly a lady walks up, and she said, “I will be your tour guide for today.” She first took us to the Administration building. Then she took us over to the pond in the middle of the campus. Then she told us that when blind people hear the sound of the pond it means that they are close to the kennels. We went inside to see the kennels. A kennel is a place where the dogs are kept.
Then after that we went out of the kennel place and we went into the dog kitchen and there was a live picture of a dog with their pups. Then we went out and people asked questions. I learned that a person can keep a guide dog for more than 7 years.
And then we went to the graduation of the guide dogs which was held in the Administration building. The people that raised the dogs were crying because they bonded together and it’s so easy to bond with a dog and they were sad and happy because the dogs were leaving. They were happy because they were going to help blind people, they were sad because the dog was leaving.
The second person was crying, and she was crying so hard that she couldn’t even talk. Then four more others did their graduation and it was done and at the end I got a cookie. And we left. The graduation was about guide dogs going to a blind person.
Left: Lois Merrihew giving a guide dog to a blind person.
Right: Graduation day Nov. 7, 2015 – A guide dog going to a blind person.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN?
Puppies can walk right when they are born. They are small and they are so cute. This puppy program is in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Texas, and Washington.
What guide dogs do:
They help blind people walk, cross the street, keep her / him safe and many more.
Who started it:
Don Donaldson and Lois Merrihew who are training dogs in the picture below.
When it started it:
It started in 1942 in Los Gatos then Lois Merrihew and Don Donaldson moved Guide Dogs to San Rafael in 1947.
Why they started it:
They started it because blind people couldn’t do a lot of things independently.
What guide dogs eat:
Guide dogs eat bait, fruit, meat and other stuff but do not give them chocolate.
How old guide dogs can get:
Guide dogs can get as old as 15 years old.
How long do guide dogs work:
Guide dogs work for 6-7 years.
How many guide dogs trained each year:
There are about 800 dogs trained each year.
What the stages are for becoming a Guide Dog:
Where they find the dogs:
The first guide dog was named Blondie and she had puppies and her puppies had puppies and they kept having puppies and many of them became guide dogs.
What the guide dog volunteers do:
Some feed, some train, some take care of the puppies, and some work at night.
Where guide dog locations are:
I only know of two, one is in San Rafael, California and one is in Boring, Oregon.
Does every dog become a guide dog?
Dogs that don’t become a guide dog are called career change. I learned that a blind person can stay with their dog for more than seven years. I also learned that it can be hard to leave a guide dog that you have trained.
WHAT DID THE SITE LOOK LIKE?
This site looked amazing and interesting. These are pictures of the site:
This is a pond making water sounds to let blind people know that they are close to the kennels.
This is a picture of the kennels.
Original entrance sign at the San Rafael campus.
2015 entrance in San Rafael.
Groundbreaking ceremony in San Rafael.
This is a picture of the kennels.
These are the pups
These are the kennels now
WHY IS THIS SPECIAL TO MARIN?
This is special because blind people wouldn’t know what to do without guide dogs.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MARIN?
Because it is easy to make friends with dogs. And because the blind people need someone to be their eyes. And because the blind person really needs someone to trust.
Map of Marin showing Guide Dogs for the Blind
Map showing Los Gatos to Marin
The campus of Guide Dogs for the Blind
EXTRA PHOTOS AND INTERVIEW
Honu is a breeder dog. Mrs. Ross is a breeder custodian. Honu had eight puppies. The puppy raisers thought Honu would have six puppies but she ended up having eight! Mrs. Ross was my teacher in second grade. And Honu was in the class with us! A dog can have a litter five times!
This is their skeletons in the vet clinic
This is a playground for the dogs
LIST OF RESOURCES
Campus Life video:
New office building:
“PASSING BY” by Lois Merrihew (written in 1939)
I saw a man and a dog pass by
And the dog was his master’s seeing eye.
The sight, to my eye was a joyous feast
And I pondered the worth of the noble beast.
What better reason has one to live
Than have a service that he can give?
To be of help on life’s rough road
And help another to carry his load?
I envied the dog with the seeing eye
As he led his master so proudly by,
Ever alert to his master’s care
And proud of the cross he had to bear.
No thought of greed, no selfish whim,
No motive mean to hamper him.
Proud of the privilege to serve and be
The eyes for his master who cannot see.
Giving his life with a joyous heart
Willing and eager to do his part.
No wonder I was thrilled as they passed me by
That man and his dog with the seeing eye.
THESE ARE SOME PUPS