When Jack Clarkson first met Lulu, it was love at first sight.
A recently retired electrical engineer from Regina, Jack was looking for a new volunteer opportunity. Already a dog lover, he learned about CNIB Guide Dogs through a TV ad and knew it would be a good fit for him. He applied to become a volunteer puppy raiser and received 10-week-old Lulu, a black Labrador-Golden Retriever cross, in August 2019.
Lulu is a calm dog who isn't fazed when she’s training, but she enjoys playtime too.
“If you’re sitting on the floor, Lulu will want to cuddle you. If you’re sitting in a chair, she will likely be under the table lying at your feet,” says Jack. “She is so smart and intuitive. She quickly mastered many of the commands future guide dogs are expected to learn, like sit, down and stay – some I didn’t even have to teach her, she just did them on her own.”
The first time Jack and Lulu were in a restaurant, Lulu instinctively crawled under the table, laid at Jack’s feet and stayed there for over an hour without Jack having to direct her.
Lulu’s favourite place to visit is the cabin at the lake, where she loves to run and swim. She's gone boating, fishing, quadding and ice fishing. She loves visiting family and friends, and their dogs.
Lulu, along with her three siblings, began advanced training at CNIB's Canine Campus in Carleton Place in October 2020.
“She was happy to go wherever we went – restaurants, grocery stores, malls, or busy streets, and it was always so rewarding for me to watch her grow and know that I’ve had a part in that progress," says Jack. “I miss her, of course, but I’m very excited for her to be at ‘university’. I’m confident she will be great."
Lulu is expected to graduate in the spring.