I took these clips from an excellent program aired on the National Geographic Channel (NGC) called Where Were You. It is one of many excellent shows NGC is showing to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
What was of particular interest to my wife & myself was the story of Omar Rivera and his guide dog Salty. Salty was a guide dog that came from Guiding Eyes for the Blind (GEB). GEB is an internationally accredited, nonprofit guide dog school with a 50-plus year legacy of providing the blind and visually impaired with superior guide dogs, training, and lifetime support services.
We are currently puppy raisers for GEB and have been raising/training Vera (6VV10) for the last ~11 months… and have about 3 more months to work with her before she goes back up to GEB in NY for another 4 to 6 months of intensive training- we call it “going off to college”. I was not surprised for an instant to see that Salty came back to be with his visually impaired owner. That is what these dogs do. They are totally committed to taking care of their owners. It is hard to understand how incredible a bond and relationship this is.
One of the most common questions we get asked by people is how can we give up Vera. We have been lucky enough to have attended a Graduation Ceremony at GEB where visually impaired persons finish about a month long training course where the dog and the person learn to work together. These clips that I pulled out of the hour program help explain why puppy raisers do it. It is to give dogs like Salty a chance to change someone’s life.
Coincidentally, we have a puppy raiser in our region raising another GEB dog named Salty. I now know what an honor it will be if this Salty can follow in Mr. Rivera’s guide dog’s footsteps. What incredible trainers and staff at GEB. What incredible puppy raisers. And what incredible dogs!
Raising Vera has been more fun than my wife & I could have ever imagined. And it is a great gift. Please check out www.guidingeyes.org to find out more.