– Press release

Eastern Sierra Guide Puppies, the local Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy raising club, welcomes its’ newest member – 11 week old black Labrador Retriever “Eiger”.

eiger! 016

“Eiger” is being co-raised by two Bishop couples; Marion and Nona Davis and puppy club leader Betsy Thomsen and her husband Peter. The Davis family has raised two previous Guide Dog puppies and the Thomsens have raised nine puppies.

“Eiger” traveled from the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus in San Rafael on the Puppy Truck, to Reno, where he was greeted by his eager puppy raisers. His name, although unusual, has special meaning. The Eiger is a 13,000 foot mountain peak in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. “Eiger’s” father is named “McKinley”, and one of his littermates is “Everest”. “We love the fact that Guide Dogs carried on the mountain theme in naming this puppy “Eiger”, Thomsen said.

There are currently 3 Guide Dog puppies being trained in the Eastern Sierra; “Javier” being raised by Anne Parkes of Mammoth Lakes, and “Falana” being raised by Leigh Gaasch, also of Mammoth Lakes.

“We are always looking for new puppy raisers”, said Betsy Thomsen, leader of the local club. “Raising a Guide Dog puppy is such a fun and rewarding experience. You can actually make a wonderful difference in the life of a visually impaired person by being involved in our program” she said.

Guide Dogs for the Blind uses yellow and black Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Lab/Golden crosses as guides. The puppies are born at the Guide Dog kennels in San Rafael and placed in the homes of volunteer puppy raisers when they are 8-10 weeks old. The puppy raisers teach their pups basic obedience, socialize them and train them to be good canine citizens by introducing them to new experiences.

The pups are returned to Guide Dogs for formal guidework training when they are 14-18 months old. Following the completion of the training, the dogs are matched with blind students enrolled at the school. The new person-dog team completes an intensive in-residence course culminating with a graduation ceremony at which the puppy raiser formally presents the dog to the dog’s new visually impaired partner.

Guide Dogs for the Blind has been creating life-long partnerships in the community by providing Guide Dogs free of charge to visually impaired individuals since 1942. The organization receives no government funding but depends entirely on private donations.

For more information on the Eastern Sierra puppy raising club which meets regularly in Bishop with outings all around the area, please contact Betsy Thomsen at 760-258-1189 or [email protected]

Additional information on Guide Dogs for the Blind may be obtained by visiting www.guidedogs.com


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