Guide dogs have pivotal roles in society and so do their raisers and trainers. As the name suggests, guide dogs are specifically used as a helping hand for the blind, and their journey has been documented in a film, released August 31st and shot in the Bay Area.
The puppies in the program go through tough training and challenges in order to graduate as guide dogs and to later become a helping hand to someone in need. Puppy trainers are responsible for raising these dogs and take them to their required training classes.
Raising these puppies is definitely not an easy task, let alone letting them go after getting attached to them. Martina Chavez is raising her first puppy named Tartan, a ten-month-old female black labrador retriever. “I chose to [raise puppies] because I had seen people who are blind use these dogs… I just wanted to raise one, help someone in the future and make someone happy.” Martina explained.
Along with Tartan, there are currently 13 labrador females, nine labrador males, three golden retriever males, and three golden retriever females in the program. All of these dogs have different personalities, and each trainer has to figure out what is the best way to raise their dog They also have to learn each dog’s likes and dislikes throughout the time they are with them.
The non-profit organization, Guide Dogs for the Blind, is a growing non-profit around the Bay Area and has been around for 42 years. Within this organization, intelligent dogs such as Tartan are trained to become guide dogs for the blind throughout the United States and Canada. Receiving no government funding, GDB is managed by good-hearted people that want to help and spread this act of kindness..
On August 31st, a new documentary called “Pick of the Litter” was released. Directed by Dana Nachman and Don Hardy. The documentary tells the story of GDB puppies and how they go through the process of becoming guide dogs. The movie illustrates the lives of these puppies and the hard work they, and their trainers, go through.
The trainers understand that graduation for these puppies is a hard thing to do, something they always hope for. All of their hard work is compensated when the puppies get accepted and chosen. It is tough to let them go, but choosing to be a guide dog trainer means that one is aware of the final step. It can be tough, but it is for a greater good to people that truly depend on these dogs.