Sharing our journey with Noelle

Noelle, the B.C. Guide Dog puppy-in-training, is now six months old.

  • Aug. 16, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Guide dog in training

Noelle, our B.C. Guide Dog puppy-in-training, is now six months old.

Gone is the cute plump, huggable pup and in her place a long, lean and leggy “tweeny” has emerged, fully loaded with attitude.

Our current effort is to teach her the “come” command, which is usually ignored if she has her paws onto something more intriguing … and sometimes smelly. But she is a pup still, and I am not on this journey alone. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes three villages to raise a guide dog.

I am helped by so many willing, kind and generous people. The talented staff at B.C. Guide Dog Services come over from Vancouver to assist in Noelle’s training. The folks at Feltham Pet Clinic care for all of the B.C. Guide Dog puppies in the area. The dog food is even donated by Purina.

Another thing to mention is the warm welcome we always receive from local restaurants and cafés. Sears at Hillside lets us practise endlessly on its escalators. The municipality of Oak Bay provides a free dog license. The Oak Bay News carries this article to help share our adventure. Our friends who graciously wine and dine us knowing that a lively puppy must always accompany us. The many, many kind strangers who always have encouraging words. My patient and understanding husband. The list is long.

All these people and more, contribute in some way to Noelle’s development. I receive a lot of validation but I know that much community effort goes into turning a rambunctious puppy into a working dog. By the time Noelle is paired with her blind or autistic partner, she will have cost B.C. Guide Dogs $35,000, but the recipient will pay only $1 to the charity. The remaining cost is donated by people like you and me. Just $15 a month helps Noelle change someone’s life.

A warm thank you to all who contribute from Noelle and me.

– Tara Douglas is fostering and trainingNoelle for B.C. Guide Dog Services

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