Our adventures with raising puppies for The Seeing Eye began in 2009 when we got Venita. One normally has to wait several months for a puppy, but we got lucky. Another puppy raiser had to have a knee operation and couldn't continue raising her Lab/Golden mix named Venita. At nine months, she already knew most of the commands, so raising her was a piece of cake - almost.

The first photo shows Venita as a puppy. The second shows her when we got her.

The area where we live is ideally suited for this task. There are nice wooded walkways, a lake, roads with traffic, plus dogs, cats and squirrels that our dogs must learn to ignore. We take our dogs almost everywhere including to church.

Venita did great and we learned a lot about raising these wonderful creatures in the five months we had her. When Venita returned to The Seeing Eye headquarters in Morristown, NJ for her formal training, we applied for another puppy. We were hooked!

After four months of special training at The Seeing Eye, we were invited to watch Venita's "town walk" in January, 2010. The "town walk" is regarded as a graduation exercise for guide dogs. We watched with amazement and pride as a trainer, who pretended to be blind, allowed Venita to show off her skills by guiding him through town, crossing streets with heavy traffic, around construction sites and other obstacles. You can watch a video of Venita's Town Walk on YouTube.

Venita was matched with a lady in North Carolina. Normally this news is the last a puppy raiser hears about the dog for obvious reasons, but the new owner of a dog may occasionally establish contact with the raiser. We were fortunate to have that privilege. The lady in N.C. was told that Venita's town walk was posted on YouTube. She wrote us a nice letter and we have remained in contact.

We got our second puppy from TSE on January 14, 2010. Click here to learn about Pumpkin.

Venita's Town Walk (YouTube video)

Read Ralph's article: "From Wolves to Guide Dogs"
Ralph is webmaster for our Puppy Raiser group: