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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor
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Eyes for the blind

When you notice a man waiting at an intersection wearing dark glasses, his walking stick outstretched and trusty dog by his side, do you consider the importance of that man’s faithful companion?

Families across America are taking it upon themselves to raise these animals for folks such as this, who live in utter darkness and need a loyal friend to lead their way. But the road to raising a successful guide dog is long and hard; many dogs never meet the necessary requirements and years of exhausting effort can be spent in vain.

?While many of us know the pleasure of canine companionship from a family pet,? Jay A. Bormann, President and Director of Guide Dogs of America, said. ?We cannot appreciate the complexity of the relationship that develops between a visually impaired person and his or her dog.?

Despite the toll of time and unrelenting instruction, trainers believe the pay-off is more than worth the exertion. The Logan family is one such example of commitment to this seemingly tedious endeavor.

?What really keeps people in the program is watching your dog meet its new owner,? Joey Logan, ?07, said. ?It?s a great feeling to help raise the quality of another persons life.?

The new puppies must be raised with exclusive care in order to be properly equipped for their future working conditions. They must become used to car travel, sudden noises, crowds, stairs, and other environments in the outside world. This can mean taking the dog everywhere, even on vacations.

A family will raise their puppy for 14 to 18 months before the dogs are returned for their final stages of preparation. At that point the puppy will undergo four months of intensive training before it is ready to be a guide.

?The hardest part is when you have to return the dog,? Logan said. ?You become attached to it as if it were a family pet so letting it go is never easy.?

A public graduation ceremony marks the completion of the dogs training. At this time the family is invited to present the dog to it?s new partner.

There are more than 1000 families in the Western states that participate in guide dog programs. These people genuinely care about the service that they provide and know that they are a part of something far greater than themselves.

For more information on the Guide Dogs of America program, go online to www.guidedogs.com.

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