Monday, November 16, 2009

Guide Dogs for the Blind

Hey everyone. Curiosity Quest is in full swing as we film new episodes. We have been traveling the country and working hard to make sure that we are getting the answers to your quests.

One of our recent quests brought us to San Rafael, California (just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge). We had the honor of touring the national headquarters of Guide Dogs for the Blind. I had the pleasure of meeting the valuable staff and trainers that educated me about how these amazing dogs are raised. Did you know that, at this particular facility, the puppies are born and they live there for 8 weeks where they are socialized with people and other dogs? They just get to be puppies. Adorable puppies, may I say? Most of the guide dogs are labs or golden retrievers. After 8 weeks they move to the homes of a volunteer where they will live for about a year and they become a puppy in training. After the year, the dog returns to begin official training to become a Guide Dog for the Blind. They will start to work with a trainer and will learn commands, how to keep their handler safe, and manage obstacles. Did you know that the dog is not leading the handler? The dog's roll is not to lead, but to keep the handler safe and be the guide to the handler's destination.

One of the highlights of the shoot was having the opportunity to be blindfolded and have Cherry, a yellow labrador, guide me through an obstacle course. Without my sight, my senses were heightened and I had to put my complete faith in Cherry to keep me safe. As you will see on this wonderful episode, Cherry kept me away from all obstacles.

The impression that I got was that everyone that works at Guide Dogs for the Blind loves what they do. Just walking through their offices I noticed how almost every employee had a dog sitting next to them at their desk. They love the animals and the people they assist.

The people that we interviewed that were blind, said that their lives changed for the better when they got their dog. The dog is not only their guide, but when the dog is not working, he/she is their companion.

I was touched by the people and amazed by the animals. I can't wait to share this episode with you. We will keep you posted as to when it will air.

In the meantime, keep writing your letters. We look forward to hearing from you.

Stay Curious