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A young black Labrador-Retriever laying on his belly in the grass, wearing a yellow “Future Guide Dog” vest.

Puppy Tales: Meet Garry, a star student and future guide dog

By Katie Gordon, CNIB Foundation Volunteer

Since April 2017, CNIB has been raising, training and matching guide dogs with Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. This is made possible by the 80 volunteer puppy raisers in communities across Canada. 

“We liked the idea of volunteering for a national organization that’s directly related to assisting those with vision loss,” says Garry's puppy raiser. “We thought it would be a cool thing to be a part of.” 

Despite the ongoing global pandemic, Garry's obedience training has been going smoothly.

“While it is unfortunate that we can’t take Garry to places like restaurants to socialize him, we can still go to the grocery store,” says his puppy raiser. “In some ways, it’s good because it’s quieter than normal. Garry is still a puppy, so it’s a good introduction because it’s not as overwhelming” 

Compared to other dogs, Garry's puppy raisers feel he is especially motivated to do his training. 

"After doing a command, he’ll be looking at you in eager anticipation of what to do next. Of course, it helps that he’s very food motivated!” 

Garry's puppy raisers understand it's important to make sure the dogs are obedient and well-behaved. Exposing Garry to different environments and situations during his first year is key to setting him up for success when he begins advanced training after his first birthday. They know it will be hard to see him go, but it will be well worth it. 

“Our experience volunteering as puppy raisers has been extremely positive and rewarding. It’s something that's fulfilling for our entire family, and it's a worthy cause.”