Click or scroll down to see pictures of Pippi's "Town Walk"

Pippi Comes Home We got her back again!

On January 9, 2014, we got our sixth puppy to raise for The Seeing Eye. A yellow Labrador Retriever, Pippi was playful and adorable, but she had razor-sharp teeth and Ralph's wrists soon needed Band Aids!

Pippi's First Snow, January 21

Pippi has already participated in numerous demos in schools, at the mall and in other places.

Pippi loves the outdoors!

Remember the old RCA Victor logo, "The master's voice?"

Pippi returned to Morristown for training as a guide dog on March 16, 2015.

After Pippi completed four months of formal training, we were invited to watch her "Town Walk," which is like a "graduation" exercise in which we see the dog perform many of the things it has learned to do in training. The following pictures were taken at Pippi's "graduation" on July 9, 2015.

We had to keep our distance and talk softly so the dog couldn't recognize us.

Approaching a crossing, the trainer purposely gave the command to cross the street and started to step out with a car coming. Pippi immediately pulled her back. This is called "intelligent disobedience" and Pippi performed perfectly. She turns to make certain that no cars are coming before proceeding.

Two trash cans partly obstruct the sidewalk. There was sufficient room for the dog or the trainer, but hardly enough for both together. Pippi quickly sized up the situation and led her around the sign on the left.

Pippi does the "sit & rest" command. This is a command that puppy raisers teach them. They learn to remain in position with or without the leash until given another command such as "forward!"

At the end of the Town Walk, there is a photo op of the trainer and dog. Most photos were taken by a Seeing Eye worker with our cameras. Our son took a few pictures from across the street.

After the helper leads the dog away, the trainer brings us our cameras and chats with us.

We surprised the trainer by asking her to autograph a book with the title "Trusting Calvin". The book is about a Jewish man who spent years in Nazi concentration camps. He got out alive but was blind from the many beatings he received. Pippi's trainer is named in the book as the one who trained his guide dog, Calvin. We highly recommend the book!

You can click here for a PowerPoint with audio of Pippi from the time we got her until she returned to The Seeing Eye. You can save the file by going to the "Download" folder on your computer; right-click on the file and tell the computer where it should save the file (3 MB). You don't need to have the program installed to watch this.

To learn about other puppies that we have raised, click the "Return" button below.

You can watch a YouTube video of Pippi and her little friend Delta here: Pippi Gets a Visitor

Part II, Pippi Comes Home!

We thought that Pippi would make a great guide dog, but it turned out differently! We explained in the photos above how these dogs are trained to protect the safety of their blind partner. Pippi went through the entire training program and did very well, but when she was commanded to get on a train with a blind person holding her harness handle, our "fearless Pippi" wanted to jump the gap between the passenger car and station platform instead of just stepping over it. Even after more urging, she insisted on jumping, so they reluctantly dropped her from the program. Blind people depend on public transportation, so this test was crucial. Pippi was always a jumper, but we never thought that she would insist on jumping onto a train when she was told to simply walk on.

When a dog is dropped from the program, the puppy raiser is given the option of keeping the dog as a pet. When we got the news, our black Lab, Sabrina, was about 6 months old and learning well. We decided we would take Pippi back and get her certified as a therapy dog. She is a working dog at heart and loves people. After four test visits, in hospitals and schools, Pippi passed with top marks and is now certified by a highly respected national therapy dog organization. She now makes weekly visits to disabled Vets at the Verteran's Hospital. Pippi and Sabrina have bonded well. We often call them "Salt & Pepper."

Pippi with Verna after returning from work at the Veteran's Home

Click here to see Puppy #8