September 28, 2021
As we conclude National Guide Dog Month, Clovernook Center’s Deanna Lewis shared a poem written from the perspective of a guide dog puppy in training to give you an idea of what each dog goes through on its journey.
Freedom the Guide Dog Puppy by Deanna Lewis
My name is Freedom and I am destined for greatness! I am a young female Yellow Labrador Retriever that was born at a guide dog training school. I want to share a bit of my life story with you so that you can learn a bit more about the life of a guide dog puppy.
When I was just an 8-week-old pup,
A sweet young lady picked me up.
When I left my siblings and mommy, I was sad,
But I had no idea about all the great adventures to be had.
My puppy raiser is a teenager named Jewel,
She attends a local high school.
I had to wait a few months before I could go to school with her,
So, at that time, I stayed home to learn good house behavior.
I learned how to sit, stay, heel, and quietly lay,
But after my training sessions, I had plenty of time to play.
When I had my puppy jacket on,
I knew I was working and had to remain calm.
I learned how to lie quietly underneath a table, chair, bench, and bus seat,
But I always preferred to lay on Jewel’s warm feet.
We went to so many different places together,
Each day, I grew more mature and behaved much better.
We rode on buses, boats, ferries, and a train,
We even practiced boarding an airplane!
We visited doctor’s offices, dentists, and even the hospital.
We went on multiple outings and they were never ever dull.
We went to malls, farmer’s markets, pools, gyms, and even toured a fire station,
I stayed in my first hotel room on our family vacation.
We went to movie theaters, museums, ball games, and even a play,
It was a new adventure every single day.
I loved all the yummy smells in restaurants and at the grocery store,
But I was not allowed to grab any of the food that had fallen on the floor.
When I am out working, I need to ignore things that may be distracting to me,
Such as kids, dogs, cats, squirrels, a ball, and even a Frisbee.
I’ve learned how to navigate safely through a loud and noisy crowd,
Knowing that one day I will become a guide dog makes me so proud.
My journey with Jewel is almost done,
But now it’s time for me to begin a new one.
I’m off to my guide dog school training class,
Where I’ll learn all the tasks and skills I need to pass.
I will learn how to safely guide a person who is blind,
Making sure to keep our safety in mind.
I will learn to stop at curbs and stairs,
And show my handler all the empty chairs.
I will look out for obstacles on the ground, both far and near,
My handler no longer needs to walk around in fear.
Once I’ve mastered all the skills I must,
I meet my new partner so that I can gain his trust,
We learn to work as a team together,
Hopefully, our new partnership will last forever.
I was born as a sweet little guide dog puppy,
Becoming a full-fledged guide dog is my destiny.
My handler will have me constantly by his side,
I am Freedom the guide dog, I can say with pride.