From Puppy to Professional

Sophie as a puppy with her puppy-raiser family.

Sophie as a puppy with her puppy-raiser family.

  It will soon be the third anniversary of when Sophie and I became a working team. I have been reflecting on all the ways she has changed and enriched my life. We have come a long way both separately and together in our respective journeys. Sophie has worked very hard to become a confident and competent professional. Much time and effort went in to training and preparing her to be an elite service animal. Receiving  such a guide dog from Leader Dogs has been among the greatest gifts and blessings in my life. A special thanks goes to her loving and dedicated puppy raising family, the Gaeckles of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They nurtured and invested in Sophie for the first year of her life, giving her every opportunity to be a successful guide dog.  And then…they gave her up so that she could change my life….a selfless  act of service, indeed. I am forever grateful for this incredible creature who guides me, keeps me safe, loves me and is completely devoted to me. There is no other relationship like the special bond between a service animal and their owner. And it is a great privilege  to be  Sophie’s recipient/owner/momma. I thought it might be interesting to share “Highlights from Guide Dog School” in honor of the upcoming anniversary. This will be a series of posts which were emails I sent home to family and friends while I was at Leader Dog to get my first guide dog (Sophie). I left them casual  and largely unedited on purpose. I will let them speak for themselves…enjoy!                                   

Lions Club Presentation

Lions Club Presentation

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