Monday, May 14, 2012

Meet Kirk: Guide Dog Puppy in Training

My name is Kirk and I love kisses!
This is Kirk - a beautiful, sweet, lovable Labrador puppy.  Kirk has a special mission in life; he is currently in training for Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael.  When Kirk graduates he will be the sited companion and guide for a visually impaired person for an improved quality of life.  Kirk is the living embodiment of the unending potential and unique bond between dogs and humans.  

Kirk must learn basic obedience and how to behave in every possible situation.  He has to learn to be calm around different sights, smells, sounds, on different walking surfaces, around all kinds of people, and other animals, etc.  As a part of his training he goes to grocery stores, restaurants, on neighborhood walks, and to work at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care with his Guide Dog puppy raiser, Cyndi.  Eventually, Kirk must learn what is called “intelligent disobedience”, which is the ability to disobey an unsafe command. He will also learn how to guide a person from point A to point B, stop for elevation changes, and how to avoid obstacles.  Needless to say, he is a VERY smart boy! You can read more about Guide Dog training here.

Hanging out at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care. Don't be fooled by my puppy-dog eyes - I love coming to work and seeing all the people!
The goal is for Kirk to be noticed as little as possible.  According to Cyndi, it is his job to be quiet and obedient in all situations.  Because Kirk is a puppy, he is still learning to be perfectly behaved. So far, Cyndi has been pleasantly surprised with his calm demeanor. He is truly a model pupil! Inevitably, Cyndi and Kirk will have to part. As painful as that will be, Cyndi will have the knowledge that she helped mentor a special young dog for someone who really needs his love and guidance.  If you are interested in learning more about Guide Dogs for the Blind, check out their website at

Dr. Gilman examines Kirk's ear - he is such a good patient!
Special thanks to Cyndi Davis for providing Kirk's bio and the details of his training!

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