Lawrence holding a blond Labrador puppy

Episode 2: Meet the Puppies

Today could very well be the most fun we will have as a family throughout the coming year. Why? Because Karen from CNIB’s Guide Dog Program just came over to our house with a basket full of 10-week old puppies that are on their way to their foster families. Each puppy will live with these volunteer families for the next ten months as they learn basic obedience, how to have fun, and as they explore the world as much as possible. But first, as this episode whose, they stopped over at our house for some play time.

Four young puppies! You could already get a sense of the different characters of each. Some are frisky, some adventurous, some are snugglers, and some are just all out leaders of the pack. I think we had one of each.

You may think that puppies all start off the same way, but each one really does have its own personality right from birth. This is why there is a perfect dog for everyone. OK, if not perfect dogs exactly, but really good matches when paired correctly. And there are, of course, endless conflicts when personalities between a dog and its human partner clash.

Photo of Anne, Lilly and Theo each holding a Labrador puppy

Anne, Lilly and Theo with the puppies

I knew right away which puppy I liked. So did my kids and my wife.

Over time, we learned a lot about puppies and the foster program from Karen. She explained how a good foster family program depends a lot on training the trainers. If these puppies are to become good guide dogs, there’s a lot of things they aren’t supposed to learn, like chasing balls. There’s lots of things they need to become comfortable with, taking busses, going into shopping malls, or in my case, going canoeing and fishing.

What I found interesting is observing which of the pups were more interested in each other and which in the kids, my wife and me.

It may seem unnatural, but a dog that likes people more than other dogs, I think, is the first thing to look for when selecting a good dog partner in life. The other thing is activity level. I want a dog that wants to do as much as I do. Not a lot more, making me feel bad for not going on enough walks, and not a lot less, which means my putting my safety at risk when I need the dog to go that extra mile.

So much to take into consideration when picking a dog – let alone a guide dog. This is why there’s no way that I can pick one of these puppies out of this group of four to become my next guide dog.

This episode is about how we began.