Guide dogs at the Ranch – learn more about the program

Linda Shannon-Hills and Ed Edrman

Have you wondered what the dogs in training vests are doing at the Ranch? In our interview with the puppies, we heard this, “We are guide dog puppies in training for a program called Guide Dogs for the Blind. So far, seven of us have been in training while living at the Ranch. Three of us have gone on to become working guides in the field and two of us will be going back in 2019 to finish our training with the program, Guide Dogs for the Blind.” So, we asked the puppies, “What does it take to become a guide dog?” The answer was “Watch the documentary called Pick of the Litter.”

Ed and Grace Edrman have graciously loaned us their copy of the documentary to help us learn more. On Saturday, February 9 at 1:30 p.m., we will be showing this independently produced documentary in La Mesa/Montana Rooms located inside La Hacienda Club. This documentary focuses on five puppies from their birth through training. The movie, which features audio description, was purchased by IFC Films/Sundance Selects after the showing at the SlamDance Film Festival 2018 in Park City, Utah. Guide Dogs did not receive any compensation for this documentary but allowed the filmmakers unprecedented access to help people appreciate the training, challenges, successes and failures of puppies in training and the 3700+ volunteers involved. Guide Dogs for the Blind provide these wonderful service animals to the visually impaired at no cost. Training, housing, travel, meals, etc. are given with only a harness attached.

Residents from the Ranch that have been involved with the Guide Dogs for the Blind will be available to answer questions and tell you about their experiences. All residents and friends are welcome, dog lover or not. See you on Saturday, February 9 at 1:30 p.m. in the La Mesa Room. Hope to see you there or just around the Ranch.