Last Thursday was a real treat for Guiding Eyes for the Blind/Orange County Puppy Raising Region. The regular Thursday night class was held at Bellvale Farms Creamery, at the top of Mt. Peter in Warwick.
Owners Tim and Amy Notebloom are very supportive of Guiding Eyes for the Blind’s mission to socialize the puppies that are being raised to become guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired. The visit to Bellvale Farms Creamery helped teach the puppies in training many lessons. The dogs were exposed to different under footings, both gravel and wood chips, and grass by a busy road. They practiced how to walk quietly on the grounds, how to “sit to greet” customers, and how to wait patiently for their raisers to enjoy their home-made ice cream. With flavors like Great White Way, Bellvale Bog and a superior Cookies and Cream, everyone had to split their attention between enjoying such a rich treat and rewarding their pups with kibble to encourage them to be patient and remain in a “sit” or “down” position. All of these lessons are critical to the puppies’ future success as guide dogs.
How it begins
Puppy Raisers receive their pups at 8 or 9 weeks of age and begin attending weekly classes at the Warwick Senior Center behind the Town Hall on King’s Highway. New commands are taught weekly and outings are planned to a variety of businesses to make sure the puppies can follow commands no matter how distracting their surroundings. The Orange County Puppy Region hopes to visit many local businesses during the 16 months each puppy is being raised. Both Jessica Carey, raising her third dog for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and Joan Kissinger, raising Kelsey, said these outings really help their puppies learn. “Our dogs must know all these commands, not just at home where everything is familiar, but everywhere they go,” said Dave Gulden, a first time raiser from Newburgh. The group had a class at the Newburgh-Beacon ferry recently and crossed the Hudson River. The puppies practiced walking on metal ramps to board the ferry, and experienced the movement of the ferry on the water, and the noise and smell of a big diesel engine. The group is planning a trip to Stewart International Airport this fall.
Anyone interested in seeing what it’s all about raising these special puppies may attend an open house at the Warwick Senior Center on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. Meet Orange County Puppy Raisers and their puppies – Kelsey, Jennifer, Carmel, Simba, Brinkley, and Gracie – speak with Guiding Eyes staff, and, of course, cuddle with guide dog puppies. Call Nicole Guite for further information at 845-230-6406.
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