As many in our community are aware, we have a local club raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind in the Sequim-Port Angeles area. Our club, Puppy Pilots, has been in the community since 2007 and has raised about 30 puppies.
The raiser has the pup in their home from about 9 weeks of age to about 15 months, at which time they return to the Guide Dogs for the Blind training campus in Boring, Ore., for formal training. Each raiser works hard with the pup to have them be ready to fulfill their goal as a guide.
Our hard work came to fruition with Yukari. Yukari arrived in Sequim in December 2015. Yukari had varied experiences in our community. She had a lot of training around children as she was able to attend TLC Preschool with myself, her primary raiser. (A special thank you to Pastor Dave Westman and the families that attended TLC because without all of you saying “Yes” I could not have raised Yukari.)
Yukari’s training also included city life (riding on a bus) and country life (not being afraid of a horse or a cow).
When she returned to Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring in February, she started her training to be a guide dog. Each week she progressed to the next phase and was ready to learn with an abundance of energy.
As usual, there was much excitement as her raiser handed over her leash to her new partner, Linda Grice of Folsom, Calif. Grice has many grandchildren so all of Yukari’s time at preschool paid off.
It does take a community to raise a guide dog puppy. We want to thank all the community businesses that have supported us all these years and “thank you” to the Sequim Valley Lions Club for its financial support and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church for allowing us to have our meetings for free.
If you are interested in becoming involved in this wonderful experience, contact Deb Cox at Deb@ puppypilots.org.