Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Guide Dog Pups Board Calgary Transit

Twelve young canines being trained by Alberta Guide Dog Services took a ride on a Calgary CTrain today to get accustomed to the sights and sounds of Calgary Transit.

“We’re excited about this training outing,” says Donna Luchak, Puppy Raising Supervisor for the charity.

“We want to teach the puppies a standardized method of accessing the platform and the trains. Blind people with their guide dogs use the CTrain regularly so we want to make things as easy for them and Calgary Transit staff as possible," said Luchak.

This experience will help the four month to 18 month-old dogs to do a better job when they graduate as full-fledged guide dogs.

“We are pleased to help facilitate this important training for these guide dogs, some of whom will ultimately assist our visually impaired customers in future,” said Calgary Transit spokesman Ron Collins from Stampede-Victoria Park CTrain Station.

The guide dog puppies will be accompanied by their human puppy raisers, volunteers who do the basic training with these very special dogs from the time they are eight weeks old.

Alberta Guide Dog Services provides professionally trained guide dogs for blind and visually impaired Albertans, with youths between 13 and 18 being the main focus. It costs approximately $50,000 to produce one guide dog and takes two years to train. The recipient of the dog pays a symbolic $1 fee for the dog's services.

***Image: Babs and Bill Lester board the CTrain for the first time at Victoria/Stampede Station.

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