Guide Dog Foundation puppy raiser helping train Reggio for service
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Reggio is on a journey to become a working guide dog!
Berkley Bryan is a volunteer Puppy Raiser for The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind.
Bryan is helping train Black Labrador/Golden Retriever mix Reggio. Their journey together began on July 12, 2020.
“As a puppy raiser, I play a vital role in Reggio’s development as a future assistance dog by caring for, teaching, and socializing him to everything he may see or experience as a working guide dog,” said Bryan.
In the next few months, Reggio will be called back to the headquarters in Smithtown, New York to finish his formal training to be a working guide dog for someone who is blind or visually impaired.
“There is a lovely saying, ‘Inside every guide dog beats the heart of a puppy raiser.’ But I can also promise you his paw print will forever be etched into my heart, too.” Bryan said. “People ask me all the time, ‘How do you let them go?’ Well there’s no simple answer. From the minute Reggio was placed in my arms, I could just feel that he was going to be special. He had this look in his eyes that said to me, ‘I’m going to make you very proud one day.’ And he has done just that every single day. Now that we are on the tail end of our journey together, I can’t help but be proud of all the work we have accomplished, and be excited for the incredible gift he is going to be for someone.”
Reggio accompanies Bryan to work each day.
“Outside of puppy raising, I work as an Associate Advisor at The Welch Group. The Welch Group has been extremely supportive in this unique way to give back, and has welcomed Reggio as a member of the team. The Welch Group’s support and heart for charitable giving continues to play a large part in Reggio’s success as a future guide dog.”
“Reggio is 16 months old this month and is ready to be called into formal training at the headquarters. Until he is called in, Reggio and I are going to soak up the rest of this beautiful journey together,” Bryan continued. “Reggio has always been destined for a greater purpose than to be my pet. He loves to work, loves to please, and I know that being a service dog is the right path for him.”
Thank you Berkley and Reggio for all your hard work!
The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind is a 501c(3) not-for-profit based in Smithtown, New York, and this year is celebrating their 75th anniversary. The Guide Dog Foundation provides guide dogs and training, free of charge, to people who are blind or visually impaired. It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog; however all of the Foundation’s services are provided at no charge to the individual. Funding comes from the generosity of individuals, corporations, foundations, and community organizations.
Bryan says The Guide Dog Foundation is always in need of volunteer puppy raisers and donations. For more information on how to become a puppy raiser or to donate, visit their website.
The Month of September is National Guide Dog Month.
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