Welcome to the fourth installment of our “Adventures in Co-Piloting” series, where we share stories submitted from past and present Co-Pilots (puppy raisers)…here is Patty’s story about how their whole family participated!
Our family got started raising Pilot Dogs when our daughter Brianna decided she wanted to do it for a 4H project.
She did a lot of reading up on training and what was required from the puppy raiser by Pilot Dogs. Being around dogs since she was born, it was no surprise that she wanted to do this. As a 4H member of a local club, her first puppy Mimi was the mascot of the club. And yes I said “first”…in all I think she raised seven or eight puppies all through her time in 4H! Not only did Pilot Dogs have requirements for the puppy raiser, but there were also requirements for the project for 4H. The combination of the two was a great learning experience for our daughter and the puppies.
Brianna spent time at puppy school for basic obedience and socialization. She also took her puppies to meetings, outings with the club, and all of her puppies were a part of our county 4H Fair. At the fair, Brianna and the puppies were judged in the ring with the same requirements that the AKC had for a dog to receive a “Canine Good Citizen” award.
For our family, raising a puppy for Pilot Dogs was very rewarding, although there were some tears when we would get the word it was time for the puppy to be returned. We all knew the reason why we were raising the puppy: that hopefully because of the work that Brianna did, along with the rest of the family, the puppy would one day make a blind person’s life better!
[Pictured is Brianna with several of her pups over the years. Posted with permission.]