For the past year, a puppy named Wrangler has been learning to be a guide dog on the Today Show. This morning on 12 News Today, I introduced you to a local puppy named Tully, being trained by Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
We first met Tully at just two months old, in the arms of Sarah, her Raiser with Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
"She's got a very easy temperament and I think she's going to be great guide dog," Sarah said.
Tully's been trained from the beginning. The puppies are massaged so they'll be used to a visually impaired person touching them frequently, and the puppies are tested to see how they respond to various stimuli. Do they run away or stay calm and curious? Tully performed exceptionally well.
"Whether it's the ball being chased or the vet asking her to stand to down, when things are happening, she still stays thinking," explained Jodi Haveles, Regional Manager of the Puppy Program for Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
Tully was paired with Sarah, who dreamt of raising guide dogs since she was just ten years old. She raised her first guide dog at sixteen. Now eighteen, trainers say Sarah has natural instincts. "It's a nice feeling that I've contributed something and I love that kind of thing, hey," Sarah said. "So there's a lot of pride."
Over a period of eighteen months, Sarah will teach Tully house manners, commands, and socialization, exposing her to different people and places so the puppy learns to stay focused on her job anywhere. Then Tully will go to Guide Dog School in New York. When she graduates, she'll be partnered with someone who is blind or visually impaired.
"It will be sad but I'll be very happy to see her do what she will go do, which she was made to do, born to do," said Sarah.
Pay attention to what you see Tully wearing. The bandanas around her neck were first worn by Wrangler, the guide-dog-in-training on the Today Show. Tully will be wearing some of Wrangler's hand-me-downs as she gets bigger and goes through training.
You can follow Tully on Heather's Facebook and Twitter pages, and by using the hashtag #TullyNBC12.
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