January 10, 2011
It's always an exciting moment when any of us meets their new dog for the first time. For a blind person, their new guide dog is a special gift who not only gives us love but also freedom. My new dog, Uri, is a two-year-old purebred German shepherd from a Bavarian bloodline. He was provided to me by Fidelco, a fantastic organization in Connecticut that specializes in raising and training guide dogs.
After he was 8 weeks old, Uri was placed with a family that volunteered to raise him for about twelve months. The people that take a puppy in for a year and help him or her become a service dog are themselves a special breed! It must be hard to give up such a wonderful animal but the reward is knowing Uri and I will become a real team and he is going to have a great life.
After he was returned to Fidelco, Uri went to school for about nine months and learned all the skills required to safely guide a blind person. Because I travel so much, Uri was also trained to help me in airports and hotels. After graduation, Uri flew to Colorado with Jason, his instructor from Fidelco.
And in December we finally get to meet! My friend Rob Raker shot this video of Uri's first day in at his new home. We will post more videos of my training sessions with Uri over the next few weeks.
Please leave a comment for Uri! What would you like to know about the life of a guide dog?