By Joanne Ritter
We hope you’ve enjoyed our Following the Instructors series which we began in June. The first of our final two videos shows Instructor Ben Cawley and Solana as they wrap up their training route. In our second video, we meet Solana on graduation day! Yes, that’s right, she graduated this past Saturday, and we had a chance to capture an interview with her new partner and her puppy raisers.
In our first video, Instructor Ben Cawley sets a fast pace with his dog-in-training Solana. She stops at the curb and waits patiently, tail wagging in response to his praise. The ability to wait patiently until traffic has cleared is important, because a blind handler would need to concentrate on the sound of traffic flow in order to determine when it is safe enough to give the cue to cross the street. While waiting, a tour bus passes by. Since so much of our training takes place in the streets of San Francisco and San Rafael in California, and Gresham and Portland in Oregon, we are one of the "sights to see" for touring visitors. Back at the training van, Ben removes Solana's booties and gives her ample praise. He takes a moment to give us his assessment of this beautiful Guide Dog.
After months of training, Solana was ready for class. As Ben predicted, she was matched with Mrs. Cindy Caler from San Diego. We had a chance to visit with Cindy and meet Solana’s raisers, Margeen and Gail Morikone of Grand Terrace, California.
This question is for our alumni – Did you notice that your dog held a special place in his/her heart for an instructor or puppy raiser? How did you find that out?