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Retired Seeing Eye Dog
Doberman Rainey 
Retired Seeing Eye Dog
Soaking up the sun while 
Grandma makes them lunch. 
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The Life Of A Working Dog
      Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows of the tremendous love and acceptance pets bring. Pets don't care how we look or even how we act; they love us unconditionally. For people who are in challenging life situations, pets can be of special benefit.  But where do these dogs come from and who takes care of them before they officially become a "working dog"?  This page is dedicated to the network of "Puppy Raisers" who give a piece of their heart and home to a future working dog for the physically challenged.
  What is a "Puppy Raiser?  Puppy Raisers are volunteers, families, and 4-H clubs that accept dogs, usually 7 to 8 weeks old and provide them a loving home. 4-H youngsters have been raising puppies for several organizations since the 1940's.  Through meetings and interaction with project leaders and Guide Dog personnel the children learn how to care for, train and socialize their puppies.  The 4-H'ers job is to teach the puppies basic obedience, to continue the crucial socialization process (exposing the puppies to many different people, animals and situations), and, perhaps most importantly, to give the puppies the love and attention that kids provide so well.
      After 10 to 16 months they have a calm, self confident, mature dog, that (quite literally) can be taken anywhere. ...Then comes the hard part... They must return them to headquarters, and walk away knowing they will probably never see their friend again.
      Is it hard to say good-bye? YES, but remember, raising a puppy to be a Guide Dog is so much more than a selfless, inspirational act. It is hard work, dedication, disappointment and tears. It is taking in and letting go,  and with most guide dog programs, taking in again and again. The work of puppy raisers is deeply appreciated by those people receiving the dog that has grown from a silly wild puppy into a mature, responsible member of a team.
       It takes a special kind of dog, raised and trained in a special way, to become a successful Guide Dog .   Not all Guide Dog puppies actually go on to become working guides. They have to be evaluated and undergo intensive training.   The dog must learn  basic obedience, commands for left and right turns, how to walk in a straight line when in harness, how to cross streets, stop at curbs, how to go up and down stairs and to avoid all sort of obstacles. One of the most crucial skills a Guide Dog must learn is selective disobedience.  The dog must not move forward into unsafe traffic, no matter how many times he is commanded to do so.
     Standards are very high.  Dogs who do not pass all the tests are usually first offered to their puppy raisers and then to families on waiting lists.
     Petie had the wonderful opportunity to have a female retired Guide Dog come live with him.   Her named was Rainy and had started her life out as a stray until Joanna Walker discovered Rainy in a pound and thought she had potential.  Rainey was saved and began her training for a seeing eye dog at Pilot Dogs in OhioRainy completed her training successfully and was places as a guide dog with a young man.
    As the years passed, Rainey's owner fell upon hard times and could no longer care for her.   He called the Doberman Rescue League for help.  A combination of his personal problems and Rainey's arthritis made the decision on her retirement.
      Petie received a called from DRU looking for a "temporary foster" home for Rainy.
The following is from DRU Newsletter
 Rainey is an excellent house dog.  She sleeps in her basket bed and has a quiet dignity about her.  Rainey has had a lot of responsibility in her life which shows both in her attitude and ironically in her coat where the pattern of her harness is still evident.
    Rainey has contributed more in her short life that a lot of people we know.  She deserves nothing less than a cushy retirement where she is the one being served, and where she can reign with her characteristic dignity.
   Petie and all the family memebers talked it over and said yes Rainey could come and stay for a few months until a permanment home was found.  It's not that we didn't want Rainy but Petie's household is pretty full.  Petie shares his home with two other dogs, one 74 year young Grandma, two Aunts with one being a quadriplegic, one niece, two nephews one is deaf and of course Petie's mom and dad.
    Natalie from DRU arrived with Rainey and  everyone was at the door to greet them.  Natalie was holding her basket and Natalie's daughter was holding a purple leash with Rainey wearing the cutest matching purple raincoat.  Yes, it was raining outside the day Rainey arrived.  Everyone was introduced and Rainey's basket was brought to Grandma's room.  It  had decided earlier Grandma's room would be a great place for Rainey since her stay was only temporary and this wouldn't disrupt  the other dogs sleeping quarters with Mom & Dad.
    First few weeks.  Grandma bought special "Senior" food for her and made sure her basket was placed directly in the sunlight.
    One month.   No basket in Grandma's room.  "Pile of Blankets"  and one was a very expensive fluffy comforter.  All blankets were arrange so Rainy could have more room to stretch.
    Two months.  No basket and no blankets on the floor.  Rainey now shares Grandma's heated bed.  "Better on Rainey's arthritis" Grandma said.
    Two and a half months.  Phone rang. All we heard was Grandma saying, "We are keeping Rainey.  She has found her home."
  Rainy passed away last year.  We miss her dearly but know deep in our hearts she had the best retirement any dog or human for that matter could ever hope for.
   Love you Rainey Girl.
The few years you shared with us brought us so much sunshine.

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