Barbara Semanchik and 7 of her four legged friends from the Seeing Eye Puppy Raising Program and the 4-H Youth Development Program presented an uplifting program to the Ladies of Harrogate.
Ms. Semanchik explained how the program works and what to expect if you choose to raise a puppy. The youngest puppy that visited was 10 weeks old and the other pups ranged in age from 7 to 14 months.
The Seeing Eye Puppy Raising Program began in 1942. It is a joint effort of The Seeing Eye, Inc. and the 4-H Youth Development Program. The participants are as young as 9 years old and include adults. The participants are required to attend puppy club meetings and activities. The puppies are placed between 7 and 8 weeks of age. The most important role of the puppy raiser is to show the puppy as much of the outside world as you can so the puppy can become accustomed to its future work environment. Puppies are exposed to all elements of life so that they will not be intimidated by these things as Seeing Eye dogs. The dog will be returned to The Seeing Eye at about 12 to 15 months of age. It is difficult to give the puppy back, but know that you have raised your puppy to enhance a blind person’s independence makes it worth the effort.
As anyone can imagine, the room was lit with smiling faces and these precious puppies stole the hearts of everyone involved!