Awhile ago, I spoke with a woman who said she had a hearing dog. Actually, she had purchased a Golden retriever puppy and now had a very nice pet who helped alert her in some ways. She told me a woman had offered to train the dog for her for $35 an hour. She asked me if I thought that was too expensive. I didn’t know what to tell her. I had just interviewed two puppy raisers for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) who said those service dogs go through six months of training and the dogs are given to the disabled without charge.
It breaks my heart to hear of situations like this where the person needs help and goes to all this trouble and expense in order to provide for themselves what they can receive free from organizations such as Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) and Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB). That is one of the main reasons I wanted to publish a book that brought into public awareness what is already available, and what the dogs are like. What better way than to share the inside stories of those who care for the puppies, preparing them to be confident and secure, willing to learn, and ready to work? From those who take care of the breeder dogs to those who raiser and socialize them for over a year, these volunteers create the foundations that the trainers build upon.
In order to better publicize this work and the services that the dogs provide, Hedy and I will be joining raisers and breeder keepers from GDB and CCI whose stories are in A Gift of Puppies to talk and demonstrate and answer questions. My hometown girls, Jeanette Frey and Patty Sambrailo, brought their pups to the Lake County Arts Council for an event on February 25. Our next one will be on Saturday, March 25, with the Elk Grove Puppies with a Vision. On May 6, Hedy and I will be at a big GDB Fun Day with San Diego puppies and raisers from three huge groups there. I hope to have an event and signing with every contributor to the book—even the ones in Colorado. That’s where Hedy’s raisers live. I’ll also be sharing at puppy and service clubs. Hope to see you at one of our events!
Schedule so far:
February 25, 2012 Lake County Arts Council, Lake county, CA
March 24, 2012; PetCo store in Elk Grove, CA; 11:30 – 4:30 PM
April 12, 2012 Ukiah Puppy Club
April 11, 2012 Clearlake Rotary, Clearlake, CA
May 6, 2012 Fun Day, San Diego, CA
I know. The touring schedule is grueling, but you do what you gotta do. No, really, spending my time with generous-hearted people and great dogs—what could be better? I always have so much fun. There’s only one problem…how do I stay on my vegan diet? Will someone pass me a carrot?