For the past few years, our Oregon campus has thoroughly enjoyed a great relationship with the Beaverton-based international headquarters of Nike, Inc. We've had the opportunity to introduce our dogs to the children at the Nike Employee Day Care Center.
Every summer, volunteers and GDB staff spend two mornings at the center, teaching these littlest athletes more about Guide Dogs and what they are able to do for people with visual impairments. Teaching assistants have said that “Guide Dog Day” has become the event looked forward to the most by both the little 3- and 4-year olds, as well as the grown-ups who work with them.
This past week, we went for our annual visit. The kids were taught the proper way to greet a dog (always ask permission before petting), and how they could identify the “special” dogs of GDB by their green jackets or Guide Dog harnesses. The kids all enjoyed learning how to groom Lucette, a yellow lab guide in training (pictured above), and also had the chance to wear a blindfold and experience walking behind “Wheeler” (a padded “dog on wheels” - pictured below). Walking with Wheeler gave the children some insight into what it feels like to completely trust a dog for mobility.
There is no better way to plant the seeds of knowledge and understanding with these little ones than with our own “little ones” – our Guide Dog pups, who make us friends wherever we go.
Thanks go to our supporters at Nike, and to our wonderful puppy raisers who help us spread the good word about GDB every day. We’re happy as we can be to “Just Do It” with such great friends!