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Infographic describing the journey from puppy to Guide Dog.

Pup-dates: From puppy to partner

By Andrew Hanlon, Manager, CNIB Guide Dogs

People often comment about the quality of our dogs. To be honest, we expect our dogs to meet the highest standards in health and quality, and we haven't been disappointed. However, one of the things that pleases me the most is the incredible standard of mobility that's achieved by our guide dog handlers. This is due, in no small part, to the training team. I am fortunate to work with a talented team that is committed to raising the bar. Not a week goes by without someone suggesting a better way of doing things.

Training dogs is one thing, but the challenges that handlers face when they leave their family, friends and home environments is another. When observing a class, I'm delighted when I see how the training team welcomes everyone and helps them feel at ease. One of the best parts of my job is seeing the handlers arrive for class, often feeling anxious, and leaving two or three weeks later with confidence they've never dreamt of. This is a tremendous milestone for the guide dog partnership as well as the volunteer puppy raisers, puppy raising supervisors, guide dog trainers, guide dog mobility instructors, veterinary team and management team. I'd like to thank them and all of our supporters for making this possible. It's a true honour to be a part of this life-changing program.