The day that volunteer puppy-raisers take home their future guide dogs from the Guide Dogs of America campus in Sylmar is a heartwarming moment in a life-changing and rewarding experience.
The process just looks a little different these days.
On Monday, volunteers in their cars pulled up in a campus parking lot for a drive-thru puppy pick-up — a physical distancing measure required to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Thirteen puppies, who will spend a little more than a year with the families, were handed through car windows by staff members wearing protective gear to elated volunteer raisers.
The puppies will learn the skills needed to become guide dogs, such as basic obedience, calm and confidence in public settings and house manners. During the pandemic, GDA has adopted fully online training classes.
At about 16 months, the dogs then return to the GDA campus to work with staff members before they are partnered with a blind or visually impaired individual.
Click here to learn how you can volunteer with the program.