I am so glad I didn't have anything to do this afternoon because it left me free to give you...
Here is the entry I promised you would be informative and fun. This is all guide dog related information you will ever need. SO without further rambling on my part, welcome to guide dogs 101.
the Seeing Eye
This school is in New Jersey and is the oldest one in America. I know two people who have gone to this school, and one is rather...interesting, and th other I haven't spoken to in years, so I don't know how they turned out. I do know that some of the people that this school turns out tend to have an eletest sort of attitude, which I don't exactly care for. I'm not saing by any means that all of them are like this, however.
This is the school closest to me. I've heard both good and bad about this school though. My counselor told me to not even consider this school because of the problems she's heard about from some of the handlers, and how bad the dogs look. I know one who had some health problems with one of her dogs. However, if they use labradoodles which are a cross between a Labrador retriever and a standard poodle, it will more than likely go on my consideration list.
This school is in Ohio and is one of the smaller schools. This is the only school that I know of that *does not* do a home interview. A home interview is where someone from the school comes out and assesses your skill with a cane and takes you on a juneau walk so that you kind of know what it's like to be guided by a dog. In this way they know what to match you with when you get there. This is one of the reasons I chose not to consider this particular school.
leader dogs for the Blind
This school is located in Michigan. It was the closest one to me when I was living in Indiana. I also heard from one of my friends that they are using labradoodles, so it is now back on the list of considered schools.
Guiding Eyes for the Blind
This is one of many schools that are located in NY. I know at least one person who has gone there and there dog was very well behaved.
Guide Dogs of America
One of several schools located in California. What a good way to meet friends I have there...i can think of two people who would like to see me, one of which I have seriously lost touch with, but oh well. This is another school I really don't know much about, except for that it uses German Shepherds for its guide dogs.
This is the school that poetprodigy7 went to and she says she swears by them. This is another one I heard of that uses labradoodles. I am seriously considering going there for those two reasons. This school is also located in NY.
Guide Dogs for the Blind
oooh!!! Oregon's close to Washington...an excuse to come see you people out there *laughs* No seriously, This one has two locations, one in California and the other in Oregon. The main one is in California. I know one person on my F-list who went there, and I've hear from another person, also here, that the dog is very well behaved.
Eye Dog Foundation
This one is also located in California. I don't know anything whatsoever about this school except for where it's located.
The Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation
I'm not exactly sure where this one is located, as I've not really checked this one out.
And if you're ready for the newest phenomena in guiding, chek this out.
Also, if you want to skip the links I put above...and get the basics on some of the schools,
This is the place for you
This even lists some schools I didn't put in the list above and some of the breeds they use...no all of the breeds they use. It gives you basics on the programs and services each provides. This is a good comparison site for those like me who are looking to get a dog.
Now a little bit about why guide schools do certain things. There are some schools who breed their own dogs there at the school, and some who use outside breeders. Most often the schools pick the names of their dogs, but those who use outside breeders let them choos names. Most do it by alphebetics, I.E all the puppies in one litter will have names that start with A, the next litter will have names beginning with B and so on. The schools try to make the dog's names unique, and often choose names, or sometimes combine existing names to make an unusual one because they don't want the dog to become distracted. For example, the guide dogs schools probably would not want a dog named Spot or Lady because there are a lot of dogs that are named that and if someone were to call their dog, the guide could be distracted by the outside caller, and potentially harm their handler. Most often dogs will be named after famous people that are no longer living, or sometimes characters out of books or plays, or names of people that are somewhat less common. Although, I did know someone who's dog's name was Magan. I also know someone who's dog's name was Apples. Ozarc, Justin, Orwell, and Pryce were all names of dogs I knew. There are also schools who do or who don't allow the new handler of a dog to contact the puppy raisers. Some think that that would be a bad idea, and don't even give them the option. That is one of the questions posed in above mentioned survey. There are also breeds that are used that some people don't think would make good guides, such as boxers. Some people think that these dogs are too strong willed or sometimes not intelligent enough to be guides. However, Bugsy was one boxer I knew of that was a guide, and did *reasonably* well. It was mainly the handler, from what I heard, who wasn't keeping the disciplin up. Though I can't say for sure as I never met the handler in person
I will now allow you all to enjoy the research I have put out there for your perusal.
As you can see, I've done my homework on this...or most of it anyway. If you have any questions ask me and I will be more than happy to find answers, either from knowledge I didn't put here, or from other sources that I have access to, mainly other guide dog users. I do plan to get a dog, so I will probably be doing more research into the schools listed in the survey posted above. Especially since I'm looking into getting a lab/poodle cross. Enjoy the red yall. I'll return later.