Pete started his life on a much different track then most puppies. He was born at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California. At 8 weeks, he became a Puppy in Training. For his first two years, Pete was trained by his puppy raiser, a staff member at a local elementary school. He grew up around children much like our Oso Grizzlies. Most of the puppy training consists of obedience instruction. Pete learned to walk on a leash, sit, stay, stand…typical dog behaviors. These pups are also taught commands that will use when they are a guide dog: riding an escalator, pooping and peeing on demand, walking across diverse surfaces, and attending events with large crowds such as concerts. Guide dogs are permitted to enter any business or area the handler is allowed and the dogs must be prepared to enter any type of environment.
After about 18 months, the “pups” are called back to San Rafael for the actual guide dog training at the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus. After a thorough medical examination and lineage check, the potential guide dogs are trained to be the eyes and ears for their human counterpart. Eventually, the dogs will be pulling (yes, the dogs are trained to walk at a brisk pace, pulling the handler) the trainer through the streets of San Francisco. They are taught to be conscientiously disobedient if the handler is in danger, i.e., about to cross the street and into traffic. Guide dogs are trained to wrap their bodies around their handler. Needless to say, the training is intense! Pete did great, but was discharged from the program at level 5 (there are 8 levels): he found the cars a little intimidating and he tended to veer to the right to avoid traffic instead of walking in a straight line.
The call came in Wednesday afternoon to come and pick up Pete. On Saturday, Mr. Bogle flew up to GDB and drove him to his new home. Pete now lives with Mr. Bogle and his family as a “career change” dog, but each morning he looks forward to his job . . . supporting the students and staff at Oso Grande as a therapy animal as well being the ambassador for perfect ambassador for teaching abilities awareness.
If your family is interested in Guide Dogs for the Blind, check out these resources!