Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Auen Foun­da­tion recent­ly met two pup­pies they are spon­sor­ing for guide dog train­ing at Guide Dogs of the Desert. Sher­rie Auen, Pro­gram Direc­tor, and Catharine Reed, Senior Pro­gram Offi­cer, named the stan­dard poo­dles Katie and Sandy after fam­i­ly members.

It was great to meet these pup­pies, which will be trained to make an impor­tant impact in two people’s lives,” said Reed. “These lov­able pup­pies have no idea how impor­tant that are.”

The pup­pies will first be raised by a fos­ter fam­i­ly until they are 18–20 months old, and then they will live and train at the facil­i­ty in White­wa­ter where they will par­tic­i­pate in a rig­or­ous 4–6 month train­ing. If the dogs com­plete the pro­gram and reach grad­u­a­tion, each will be placed with a per­son who is visu­al­ly impaired. Togeth­er this new team will train fur­ther at the organization’s live-in facil­i­ty for 28 days in order for the dog to help pro­vide its new own­er safe mobil­i­ty, com­pan­ion­ship and independence.

Since 1972, Guide Dogs of the Desert has grad­u­at­ed more than 1,375 teams from its pro­gram, all accred­it­ed by the Inter­na­tion­al Guide Dog Fed­er­a­tion. The orga­ni­za­tion breeds and has rela­tion­ships with breed­ers of Labrador Retriev­ers, Gold­en Retriev­ers, Stan­dard Poo­dles, and some Ger­man Shepherds.

By care­ful­ly main­tain­ing a spe­cif­ic pedi­gree, we increase our suc­cess of grad­u­at­ing high­ly qual­i­fied dogs that can tru­ly enhance a person’s life,” said Sarah Clapp, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Guide Dogs of the Desert.

It was won­der­ful to see how these pup­pies are cared for and trained in a very spe­cif­ic way that has a high suc­cess rate,” said Auen. “We are look­ing for­ward to com­ing back to watch our Katie and Sandy grad­u­ate with their own­ers and see them off to a life of ser­vice that only these spe­cial­ly-trained dogs can pro­vide. It’s all very heart­warm­ing, and we are hap­py to be a part of this process.”

Guide Dogs of the Desert is locat­ed at 60735 Dil­lon Road, White­wa­ter. For more infor­ma­tion vis­it or call (760) 329‑6257.