Monday, April 12, 2010

Not Just Eyes

Contributed by Erin Austin

A youngster meets a black Lab Guide Dog puppy at the Blind Babies Foundation beep Easter egg hunt
On March 20th, Fresno’s puppy raising group, Puppies with a Plan, and Visalia’s puppy raising group, Tailwaggers, attended the 17th annual Blind Babies Beeper Egg Hunt. The Blind Babies Foundation helps families with blind or visually impaired children, providing services to help the child’s optimal growth and development. My group, Fresno’s Puppies with a Plan, has been attending the Egg Hunt for the past two years; we were invited in 2009 by the Tailwaggers.

When this year’s Egg Hunt came around I was really excited. I was unable to attend myself last year, but my puppy, Freya, went with our club's leader. I got a lot of pictures of Freya with the kids, and I couldn’t wait to take pictures myself this time around.

The Blind Babies Foundation beep Easter egg hunt
When we got there and met up with the Tailwaggers, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I currently don't have a puppy, so I took Tomales, a puppy from our group.

More than 1000 electronic eggs are donated free of charge by Carl Zeiss Meditec. The egg hunt, along with several fun activities including a petting zoo, cupcake decorating, bubbles, crafts and lunch, were enjoyed by more than 300 children and their families who traveled from throughout Northern California.

We were able to roam and mingle, so Tomales and I stayed with a few other members of my group and stopped whenever a child wanted to pet a puppy. One little kid really stands out in my mind. She petted one puppy and then went to another and another. She couldn’t stop laughing. Eventually she got down on the ground and one of the puppies licked her. She rolled around on the ground and laughed and laughed. She wasn’t the only kid who really loved the puppies.
It was there that I realized that no matter who Freya went to, she would bond with them. For some reason, seeing those kids smile when they put their hand on a puppy was all I needed to make the worries go away. I knew Freya would be fine because she wasn’t just going to be some person’s eyes. She was going to be their friend and, hopefully, whomever she is paired with will have the same smile on their face when she and her partner meet for the first time.

Puppy raisers and their pups at the beep Easter egg hunt

4 comments:

  1. This was an adorable post. And I know I smiled a lot and continue to when I met Santana and Railey.

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  2. This is such a beautiful post and indeed they are so much more than the amazing eyes they provide.

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  3. Such a feel good post. It never fails to amaze me how kids and puppies can bond almost instantaneously. These Guide Dog puppies are going to bring so much joy into the kids' life!

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  4. mmmmmm, puppy raisers...
    I have to say that these are some of the most exceptional people that exist. It never fails that they give huge thanks for a tour of the campus at graduations... Wait, I am the one that needs to give thanks to these kind souls. Without them I would have no guide. At the last California campus graduation the class supervisor mentioned that he still doesn't know how they do it. This is a man I know well, since he was also my CS, and he has been at GDB for over thirty years. There are so many great people in our community of dog and people lovers, to them we send our undying gratitude!!! So many friends and mentors, sniff, sniff.

    Wags,
    Seth & Bamboo

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