After one year of obedience and socialization training in Regina, two future guide dogs – Indy and Percy – reached a major milestone. The brothers, both black Labrador-Retrievers, boarded a plane in July en route to the CNIB Guide Dogs' Canine Campus in Carleton Place, Ontario to begin advanced training.
"I will miss Indy but I understand the importance of the service he will provide for a person who is blind or partially sighted," said Kerry MacDonald, Indy's volunteer puppy raiser, who has helped him learn basic obedience and socialization skills, as well as providing a safe and loving home for him.
Upon arrival at the Canine Campus, Indy and Percy started training with a guide dog trainer. They are being introduced to the harness and the basics of the guiding role, including working safely with a handler.
"This next stage for Indy and Percy is crucial in developing their skills as guide dogs. When the training concludes, they will be partnered with handlers," said Kezia Gray, Apprentice Puppy Raising Supervisor, CNIB Guide Dogs. "Helping a puppy grow and develop into a happy, confident guide dog is very rewarding, but nothing can compare to the special moment when a person is matched with a guide dog and reclaims their independence."
For many people who are blind or partially sighted, a guide dog provides an unparalleled level of mobility, freedom and confidence – opening up the world in a whole new way.
"I want to thank Kerry MacDonald and Christopher Adams for providing loving homes and basic training for both future guide dogs. Without volunteer puppy raisers, we wouldn't be able to offer this program," said Christall Beaudry, executive director, CNIB Foundation Saskatchewan. “I would also like to thank 3D Petroleums for sponsoring both dogs – providing $100,000 to help with the costs of raising, training and matching guide dogs.
Indy and Percy's siblings, Wallace and Lulu, will arrive in Carleton Place for advanced training later this Fall.