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Guide Dogs for the Blind Graduation

June 26th, 2004

"Guide Dogs for the Blind celebrates the human-animal bond by creating lifelong partnerships between skilled Guide Dogs and people with vision loss.  Our services are provided free-of-charge to visually impaired men and women from throughout the United States and Canada." -- from the www.guidedogs.com web site.

Words and pictures express only part of the incredible experience of attending a Guide Dog for the Blind graduation ceremony.  The rest is felt in the heart and soul.

Twenty red hatters from various chapters attended the June graduation.  We were first given a private tour of the facilities led by Ray and Bev.  We saw the dormitory where the new dog owners live for 28 days so they can participate at the end of the training.  We visited the veterinary clinic, the kennels, the food preparation room, and saw one of the dogs being bathed.

After the tour, we took our reserved seats in the auditorium.  After a short introduction and a slide show, we began the unforgettable experience of watching and listening to the "puppy raisers" as they handed over the guide dogs to their new owners.  They shared with us their experiences and heartfelt feelings, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

After the graduation, the graduates, trainers, puppy raisers and guests met in the lobby for refreshments and conversation.

I highly recommend the guide dog graduation ceremony, which is held on one Saturday per month.  To see future dates and to learn more about this organization, please visit their website at www.guidedogs.com.

A special thank you to Jane Grecco, a special volunteer who coordinates the visits to these graduations. (Row 1, Photo 2).

Eve Grace (row 4 photo 3) found a fabulous pair of shoes on e-bay (row 4 photo 4).

(Click on the image to enlarge it.)

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