Tuesday, January 10, 2012
by Chris Sobchik
There was Whitney and Anchorage, Othello and Serenade, Columbus and Lana…
No--Santa does not have a new team of reindeer; these are working Guide Dogs and puppies in training who attended the 27th annual Puppies 2 Partners Holiday Luncheon held in Anaheim in December. Puppy Raiser families hosted 28 working teams and shared a traditional holiday meal together. The planning was done by North Orange County puppy raising club Puppies 2 Partners with help from VIP3 of South County and BAARK Brea adult raisers.
This year’s theme was Jingle Bones. Graduate Dan Haley and his band entertained as guests arrived. Tina Wilson with her Guide Dog Donovan (shown above)entertained the group with Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and The Christmas Song on her guitar. George Cassell and his yellow Lab Guide Dog Amigo sang a duet.
Santa posed for pictures with working teams and guests took home their photographs in painted frames adorned with dog biscuits. The holiday feeling was enhanced by “gifts” of door prizes won by lucky graduates. The luncheon offers local working teams the chance to visit with friends and show their appreciation to the volunteers who raise the puppies who later become Guide Dogs. They often share stories of how their guides help them each day and how much the work of the puppy raisers has meant in their lives.
Puppy raiser Katie Irving looks forward to the event each year. She said,“At the party we hear and see exactly how the puppies we raise help others lead more independent lives. It is great to see the working teams in action and learn more about the graduates as guide dog users.” Jaclyn Bigley added, “It’s amazing to see so many dogs and puppies in one place. Just about every table has a dog underneath and puppies sleeping around them!” Linda Becker, a GDB OAR Ambassador and regular at the event said, “ I look forward to this event each year. I see so many friends and I love the opportunity to tell the puppy raisers how much their work has changed my life.”