October 23, 2014
Before getting the teams up to work, Deb has lots to share. She reports on the kennel project that is under construction at Leader Dogs for the Blind; she talks about the breeding program and what happens to the puppies when they return to Rochester Hills; she describes guide work and what it means when the blind or visually impaired handler cannot support the decisions the dog has to make.
"We need forward-thinking, independent-thinking dogs," she said.
Many of the men express interest in continuing to raise puppies once they get out. Deb leads a discussion about what raising a puppy on the outside entails, how they will have to deal with veterinarian and food expenses, and transportation when picking up and returning a puppy.
The men nod their heads when she suggests they take time to get their lives in order first. These inmate raisers are thinking, too.
|Three puppies and their raisers share a moment. Ro, on the right, is handling FLD GeeGee's front paw. GeeGee is Ro's second puppy; he raised FLD Sammy, who, at the time of this post. is in training at Leader Dog. Ro says that even though he thinks Sammy was the best, GeeGee has stolen his heart.|
Time to work. Deb has a fun exercise planned. She recreates an outside puppy outing she and FLD Jedi attended at Detroit Metro Airport. The puppies will practice sit or down/stays, recalls, handling, and settling.
We set two chairs at one end of the room to simulate a metal detector. One at a time, each inmate raiser puts his puppy in a sit or down stay in the middle of the room. Here he removes his shoes and the puppy's collar and leash.
|Abe removes his shoes while FLD Andie holds a sit/stay.|
The raiser leaves the puppy to walk through the chair-metal-detector, then turns and calls his puppy to come.
|FLD Henry comes readily to Matt, who is waiting on the other side of the "metal detector."|
Another inmate, posing as a NSA agent, pats them both down. Once cleared, the inmate puts his shoes and the puppy's collar and leash back on and is shuffled into the corner to wait.
|"NSA agent" Eric checks out FLD Dylan while Dave, the pup's handler, rehooks his leash.|
|FLD Ashley gets checked over.|
|"NSA agent' Eric keeps the group sequestered in the corner.|