Valley guide dog is given to blind person |

Valley guide dog is given to blind person

by Christina Nelson

Only 45 to 50 percent of puppies raised to be guide dogs for the blind are successful.

Four of five guide dog puppies Fran Anker of Gardnerville has raised have graduated from the program. Her most recent dog, Roger, graduated on May 23.

Roger, a yellow lab, was presented to Jerry Belault.

The pups are born at guide dog kennels, and at 2 months of age, they are placed in the homes of puppy raisers who house train the pups and teach them social skills.

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 the training, the dogs are matched with blind people enrolled at the school. The dog and the blind person complete 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 free of charge to qualified blind men and women throughout the United States and Canada. The program does not receive state or federal funding and depends entirely on donations for its existence.

For more information about guide dogs, call 800-295-4050, or write, P.O. Box 151200, San Rafael, Calif., 94915.

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