by Warren and Claudia Wish, GDB puppy raising club leaders
Dogs and puppies from Guide Dogs for the Blind bring holiday cheer to children with special needs.
“Tis the season to be jolly….”
All puppy raisers for Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) know that nothing brings a smile to a person’s face faster than when a Guide Dog puppy enters the room. The puppies have a way of making hospital patients feel better and leave senior citizens with pleasant memories. Young children respond in amazement as the puppies in green jackets walk into a store. Whether young or old, all respond the same way – with smiles and cheer.
The puppies seem to be able to break through to people who are severely developmentally disabled . While most of the time, these are people seem locked inside, unable to communicate or respond to the world around them, something wonderous takes place in the presence of a Guide Dog puppy.
For the past 12 years during the holiday season, GDB puppy raisers in Carson City, Nevada, have taken their pups to visit a residential facility for people with severe mental retardation. We go to sing Christmas carols and to bring puppy cheer.
Even though most of us can’t carry a tune, we go each year just to watch the way our puppies respond to these special people and the way the residents respond back. You can see a slight awareness as a resident’s hand touches a puppy’s fur. A puppy kiss brings a reaction that can only be described as magical.
Some of the club’s career changed dogs, now certified as therapy dogs, also attend. Together puppy raisers and Guide Dog puppies are bringing the spirit of the holidays to a group of very special people.