Host My Pet visited The Guide Dog School of the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired to learn more about raising guide dogs! It was the cutest thing ever. Thus, this is going to be a GIF-heavy post. Sorry not sorry!
We interviewed a few foster parents and an employee of the Guide Dog School itself. We also got to see how to-be guide dogs learned how to cross roads:
Some of the dogs were more excited than others…
Some just got distracted:
We also learned how to deal with stairs:
We also feel like this on Mondays, pupper.
But she got down, good on you!
ANYWAYS — on to the interviews! First we interviewed Saara, an employee at the Guide Dog School.
HMP: What is this puppy school thing anyway?
Saara, guide dog school: Our puppy school aims to help foster families to raise suitable guide dogs out of our puppies. In theory, we’re responsible for these dogs until they’re tested. We help with all kinds of everyday issues and aim to get all of the puppies fit to be guide dogs at an older age. The dogs are tested when they’re about a year old, and we of course hope that most of them will be accepted into training. That is the main goal for our puppy schools.
HMP: What role do foster families have and why is it important to find them?
GDS: Foster families have an incredibly important role, as they take care of raising these puppies until they’re over a year old. They teach these dogs all the basics, from getting them used to traffic to teaching them all the basic commands (sit, lay down, heel) and getting them used to different things. We couldn’t handle that at all, so we have to rely on these foster families to give these dogs a normal upbringing. The puppies should grow up to be balanced, smart adult guide dogs.
Then we interviewed Kristiina, who is fostering Ani.
HMP: What kind of an experience has it been caring for a guide dog school puppy?
Kristiina: It’s been a very good experience! We became interested a few years ago and then started to think about it. Ani came to us pretty quickly after that; they called us and said they had a few puppies still waiting for a foster home and asked if we’d take Ani.
K: Ani moved in last October and we’ve had such a wonderful time with her. It’s been lovely and amazing to learn about training with these guys and to experience what we’ve experienced — we’ve been very pleased. A great experience, and Ani will be taking her test soon, in two months to be exact. It’s looking good!
Simo is raising Gepsi, who is only nine weeks old!
HMP: How did you end up as Gepsi’s foster parent?
Simo: Well, I’ve had dogs for thirty-odd years — almost 35 years. I hadn’t owned a dog for a few years and figured that work could give way to one at this point. I noticed the guide dog school after a recommendation from a friend and decided to offer to be a foster home.
HMP: What kind of an experience has it been so far? I guess you’ve had a few weeks together.
S: Well when you have a cute little furball like this it’s very rewarding of course, but then again when the little guy wakes you up at 2 AM to let her out, it has its challenges as well.
Gepsi being cute:
So you think you can be a foster family
If you’re not cut out to raise (and then give up!) cute little furballs like these, you can always just sign up to care for some furry friends now and then with Host My Pet! Sign up today!