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 guidedogsofthedesert.org or call (760) 329‑6257.