When I raised Labrador Retrievers, I wanted to donate a puppy to the Leader Dogs for the Blind. My Dad lost his vision due to diabetes complications and I thought it would be a nice tribute to him.
I contacted Leader Dogs for the Blind in Michigan and they sent me the information as to their requirements.
This is where I got confused. They mentioned that they only accepted purebred registered puppies for the program. They do not accept a purebred puppy without the papers.
What difference would it be, if the dog was with or without AKC papers? My dogs were AKC, so that is not the point. I just don't see why they would not accept a puppy without papers.
I don't feel that AKC papers is going to make the dog any better as far as being able to be trained to assist the non-sighted. My friend Dean, who was also blind from diabetes, had a wonderful guide dog, Toby, that was a Golden Retriever mix.
Guess what I am trying to figure out is why does the dog have to have papers? Also, why does it have to be purebred? I am sure a lot of mixes would be very suitable for guide dogs.
Any input on this situation? Please help me to understand.
Maybe the Leader Dogs for the Blind program varies from state to state, I'm not sure. Michigan is the only state that I contacted about the potential donation.
They will breed the dog if they feel it has something to pass on. A lot of them flunk out as well. Prehaps they just want to make sure they are getting a quality dog as well and start with the AKC registration as the first step.
Different programs have different guidelines for service animals that they will accept into their programs. I know that Domestipups, which trains dogs as service dogs for disabled (but not for the blind I don't think) prefers to use collies and labradors because those breeds in particular have a strong instinct for the type of training they do. Some search and rescue programs for example will only accept German Shepherd dogs, even though other dogs have shown incredible aptitude in S&R, including border collies, labs, APBTs, and Golden retrievers.
I would suspect that if they are accepting a donated dog that has good lines and may be used in future breeding programs to keep them supplied with dogs with a good working instinct, they prefer to have AKC registered dogs, as it's the registry that does the most performance events and such. And probably the registry that gives them the most financial support through donations and the like.
Most places don't know if they are going to contuniue the advance training on a dog or use it for a breeder dog until it comes back to them from the puppy raiser.
They usually work with the dogs for a couple of weeks and do the x-rays and stuff. Then they have a committee meeting to deceide the dogs fate. Will it wash out, be a guide dog, or be used for breeding.
There are places that use mixed breeds. A lot of your privete guide dog trainers use dogs from shelters.
Guide Dogs for the Blind in California uses labs and goldens and now they are crossing the two. At one time they were even breeding the crosses. I'm not sure if they are doing that any more since the breeding coordniatior is now the one that use to do CCI's breeding program, and they never used the crosses for breeding.
I wanted to add that my Dad was on the list for a Guide Dog, but unfortunately he passed on before his name came up. They called about 2 months after my Dad died to say they had a dog for him. Nice thought, just a little too late.
Bassett...sorry to hear about your father by the way...But I can relate...I called and asked if I could donate a GSD pup when we had a litter last summer..They pretty much said..no thanks..I have akc on my dogs too..but they have their own breeding program and I know the person who owes the male that donates sperm to that program. I dont understand their relucatance..but..I cant force them to take a donation..I have a DIFFERENT view of them since I contacted them though..To each his own..Also..When I was doing rescue work I came across a litter of boxer mix puppies..I called PAws for the cause..supposedly they get shelter mutts and train them..they wanted no part of any pups either..I was shocked..they are all over tv spouting they take the unwanted and make dogs to help people who are disabled..But..again..I was shocked to hear what I did..I talked to a GSD breeder in Ohio I think it was..and he says he donates his pups to Pilot Dogs they supposedly help the blind too..But..I didnt get any information from him about it. I feel as you do about thins..i think..Some times you just want to give back...and then if it is snubbed at..makes you feel like you did some thing wrong..Dont worry about it is my theory.
Huron, that makes me wonder if they've tried taking public donation puppies in the past and other people's poor breeding practices lead to them recieving dogs that were overly aggressive, unhealthy, or otherwise unsuited for service dogs. I can easily see that making them hesitant about accepting dogs from breeders or people they're not familiar with.
Well Minniyar is right, but usually they interview people that offer to give them puppies.
They have spacific qualities they look for in breeders.
I know when I raised my CCI puppy they received a litter of puppies out of parents that were english imports. They thought they would be good for the breeding program since their best stud dog is an english import.
Well the puppies were sent to diffrent CCI centers, but they were all cut for behavior issues. Most were too shy.
They also purchased a couple of male puppies to add to the breeding program and one had an enlarged haert and the other had hip dysplasia.
So I think they are getting more and more picky about recieving outside puppies. Not that theirs don't have health issues either. A lab and a golden were both released for aggisive issues. Later it was revealed they had brain tumors. The lab they found out about right away, the golden they didn't find out about until she died.
If you want to donate a puppy though there are lots of places that train dogs for the disabled. I am sure one of them would be happy to receive a puppy from you.
They do it because they have gone through all the training in the past just to have the dogs end up with problems. It is the same thing with police dogs. Some places take donations of anything and others are really strict about it and they may only do a couple a year. The one dog I knew that was picked for the program never ended up making it and I couldn't figure out why. Some places are just really picky about it. But it would suck to spend all the money training to have the dog reach five and go blind,get bad hips etc. I guess they just don't want to take their chances.
If you stil wanted to help I know there are programs around here where you raise the pup for a year(I think maybe a little longre or less) and train it in basic obedience and gt it adjusted to things.I think they have the hardest tiome finding good people for that. The program goes therough the 4h and FFA office here too.
Wish I still had my Labs, I raised them for years. The tribal police were very interested in getting one of my pups from Blondie. She had such a high retrieving instinct, she'd even pick up a pen if you dropped it on the floor.
They ended up getting a started dog instead of a puppy though. One of the officers used to come out and check out my litters of pups to see which would be better for retrieving. He told me they train them using a prop, like a tennis ball for either drug or bomb dogs.
That also is a very worthwhile program, especially nowdays.
In New Jersey we have the Seeing Eye. They only use their own pup. If you donate a dog to them it must be a purebread Lab and it goes into their breeding program, not to a blind person. They then foster out their pups to socalize them in households with 2 parents and minimum of 2 kids. They train the pups for basic obedience and you sign a contract to continue the training in your everyday doings. Between 18 months and 2 years old they take the dog back and start the leading training and the dogs do not go to the blind person until they are 3.
They do make suprise as well as scheduled visits to your home to see how the puppy is doing while in your care. It is worse than adopting a baby.
I guess they want purebreeds because if the dog does not make it through the program, and they say that close to 50% don't make the cut, they use them in their breeding program or sell them as pets.
I know that when they breed their own dogs they breed for quiet temperments.
***Edited By: Renorey on 4/13/2005 6:12:03 PM*** Reason: additional data
I have a lady from LADS coming over on sat to pick out a pup to enter their training program.. They take labs, goldens, and any appropreate mix or these two breed. They train dogs for the disable mainly those in wheelchairs.. Iam doing this for my nephew, he is 11 and has sever ostoprois due to haveing to be on steroids, and had broken his back and was in a wheelchair for a while. and my have to go back into one.