Monday, October 8, 2007

Guide Dogs of the Desert Graduation Ceremony

Yesterday I attended the graduation ceremony for three recently trained guide dogs for the blind. The Guide Dogs of the Desert are based in Palm Springs but serve a very large geography. The graduation ceremony was held at their facility in Whitewater, just outside of Palm Springs. They have a marvelous facility, including the dog kennel area. It was immaculate and was very inviting. before the graduation exercises, I had a chance to chat with the management team and a number of guide dog trainers. I was very impressed by the folks who run this organization. The trainers are volunteers who take on a three month project of training a dog in their home. Many reported how difficult it was to hand over the trained dog they raised as a puppy, and bonded with daily for 90-120 days. There were three dogs that graduated yesterday:

Above left: 'Woody" a Chocolate Lab & above right: "Bonnie" a Yellow Lab.
Above: This is "JP" (John Paul), a Standard Poodle, who seemed a bit jumpy on stage.
The local media were present, filming the event, I'm sure it played well on the evening news. I mean, who doesn't like guide dogs? During the graduation exercises, they had the trainer and the new recipient make a statement, which was very touching. They also showed a slide show of the dogs "growing up", which had the audience in tears and laughing at the same time. After the ceremony, I bought one of the 2008 Guide Dog Calendars. If you want one, the cost is $10.00 with a $2.00 shipping and handling charge. They have an order form on their website.
-Rick Rockhill


WAT said...

I love dogs for so many reasons, and this only solidifies why they are a terrific species.

captain corky said...

Guide dogs are amazing. It must take a boat load of work to train them.

Gillian @ Indigo Blue said...

Hi Rick! Hope you are well. Sorry to read about your partner Aunt, that is sad. She sounds like she was a special lady, again, I am very sorry.
Guide dog grads, they are sweet. What an important job! The standard poodle is my favourite, in Canada, (probably in US too though) we train them to be hearing ear dogs as well. The deaf seem to like that breed for that, perhaps being jumpy is to the advantage in that case.
Enjoy your week!!

Sheila said...

You seem to have the most interesting job. What a neat event to attend! That Golden is so handsome.

RAD Homo said...

Soooo Coool-- I had a guide dog with out last tour to Alaska-- waht a sweetie! Guide dogs are the best!

Desert Songbird said...

You are so fortunate to able to event the coolest events! You're right - who doesn't love a guide dog? That last photo is just precious.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

lime said...

i have personally known two visually impaierd people who had guide dogs. it made such a huge difference in their lives and gave them such a freedom they thought they'd never have before. this is such an important thing.

Serena Joy said...

Guide dogs are SO special. I love all dogs, but these guys are something else.

marlupe said...

oh I just love guide dogs and service dogs, they are such angels.

Scott said...

We have a black standard poodle. I can't even begin to imagine him as a service dog. Smart as hell, but he has perfected his use of his smarts for evil instead of for good.

Canadian flake said...

awwwwww these dogs are so sweet...really loved the last pic you posted. Thanks for sharing!!


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