As JoAnne, Lisa, and I walked from the St John Vianney parking lot to the school’s front entrance it looked like a parade! Counting the dogs there were seven of us nose to tail along the sidewalk.
We were coming to talk about service dogs and how they can help people with disabilities. Lisa is a graduate from Leader Dogs for the Blind. She told my husband’s seventh grade students how her German shepherd, Abel, helps guide her safely wherever she needs to go. JoAnne is a Puppy Counselor from Leader Dogs for the Blind and she brought a 7-month old black lab/shepherd mix named Maggie May. She is the 17th puppy JoAnne has socialized in preparation for formal training at Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester, Michigan. If Maggie passes she will be given to a blind person and begin her career as a dog guide. JoAnne also brought Murray, a long-haired German shepherd who was “career-changed” because he has hip displasia, a condition that would negatively impact his ability to become a dog guide. Murray is now JoAnne’s dog. And, I brought Madison who is a semi-retired service dog for my mother.
Here we are getting ready before the students come in. You can see furry Murray under the desk. He’s hiding. He’s 110 pounds and totally afraid of his own shadow. Abel is to Lisa’s left. You can just see his snout and left front paw. Maggie is in the middle of the room in a “down stay” as JoAnne prepares a display of safe and unsafe dog toys. Madison is waiting patiently for something to happen.
We spent about 40 minutes with Mr Simms’ class. They just finished reading Hello, Goodbye, I Love You -The Story of Aloha, A Guide Dog For The Blind.
After the students left Lisa and I talked “dog stuff.”