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Guide dog given to woman

Staff reports

Graduation day at Guide Dogs for the Blind Inc., San Rafael, Calif., is a proud one for the youths and adults who present the dogs they have raised to blind people as full-fledged Guide Dogs. Jenny Blankenship of Gardnerville presented “Desiree,” a yellow Labrador retriever, to Sister Anne Gelles at ceremonies on Saturday, Nov. 12.

The pups are born at the Guide Dogs kennels. At 2 months of age, they are placed in the homes of puppy raisers who house-train the pups and teach them social skills. This socializing by the raiser helps to lay a solid foundation for the future work of the dogs as guide dogs.

When the dogs are about 18 months old, they are returned to the school to begin a four- to five-month program of guide dog training with licensed instructors.

Following the completion of training, the dogs are matched with blind people enrolled at the school. The new person-dog team completes an intensive, in-residence course at the Guide Dog school, culminating with an informal graduation ceremony at which the raiser presents the dog to the new graduate.

Guide Dogs for the Blind Inc. provides dogs and training entirely free of charge to qualified blind men and women throughout the Untied States and Canada. The program receives no state or federal funding, but depends entirely on donations for its existence.

For more information about Guide Dogs, phone or write Guide Dogs for the Blind Inc., P.O. Box 151200, San Rafael, Calif., 94915, (800) 295-4050, or visit the Web site at http://www.guidedogs.com.