The Boulder Guide Dog Puppy Club welcomed two new puppies from Guide Dogs for the Blind on Friday, January 13, 2012. Athena is a 14-month old, female, golden retriever and Bonita is an 11-week old black Labrador. They are destined to become partners for people who are blind.
Athena is being raised by Cathy Greenwald and Bonita is being raised by Gwen Nicodemus and her daughter, Anna. Normally, puppies travel by the puppy truck, but these two pups were special and flew to Colorado.
Cathy is a leader in the Boulder Guide Dog Puppy Club and has raised about one puppy a year for the last 13 years. Gwen has raised three puppies and her daughter Anna has raised one.
The Boulder Guide Dog Puppy Club currently has 17 puppies in the club and 2 in "college" training to be working guides.
The puppies are born at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California. Most puppies come into their raiser's home at about 8-9 weeks of age. They embark on a journey to meet their new puppy raising families, who raise them for the next 12-18 months. The puppy raisers teach the dogs house manners and socialize them to the world by introducing them to new people, places, and experiences.
Raisers then return their dogs to Guide Dogs for the Blind for several months of formal training. The Boulder Guide Dog Puppy Club currently has two dogs, Kia and Patrice, both female, black Labradors, in formal training. The dogs are then matched with blind students enrolled in the in-residence training. Raisers are invited to formally present the dog they have raised to its new partner in a public graduation ceremony.
Guide Dogs for the Blind has created life-long partnerships to people throughout the United States and Canada since 1942. Services are provided free-of-charge. The organization receives no government funding but relies solely on private donations.