Consider the great responsibility of the guide dog. She's out there in her bright vest, ably assisting her person, remaining alert and helpful even in the face of attention-pulling animals and humans, several of whom are cooing in the working dog's general direction.
It's a major achievement, but how a guide dog reaches that point is a story told by many volunteers over many months. And for more on that moving story, and how you can help, and perhaps even become a puppy raiser, look to The Guide Dogs of America, and make a date on Saturday, June 11. That's when the Sylmar-based organization will be holding a free open house and fundraising auction.
The Guide Dogs of America people have been providing "dogs and instruction in their use, free of charge, to blind and visually impaired men and women from the United States and Canada" since 1948. Caregivers who take in and love on the puppies are a major part of what the Guide Dogs do, as are the highly skilled trainers. The organization estimates that it costs about $42,000 to raise and train a pup.
With that figure in mind, it's easy to see why getting out and bidding on items like a German Shepherd portrait and other artworks and sports giveaways is important. Open house visitors will also get to see dogs maneuver obstacle courses. There will be other demos and various info booths, meaning that prospective puppy raisers and those who wish to offer financial support can learn what the need to know.
The hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 11.