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Floss joins Guiding Eyes for the Blind

By Staff | Dec 31, 2010

Floss the dog poses for a picture recently. The Johnston family raisers puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. They celebrate the puppy’s graduation as a full-fledged guide dog.

CHARLES TOWN – The Johnston family, volunteer puppy raisers for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, is celebrating their puppy’s graduation as a full-fledged guide dog.

Floss, a black Labrador, became a member of the Johnston family at five months of age and is now fully trained to be part of a Guiding Eyes team.

“We are very much a community service oriented family. With having family members who use service dogs, we felt this would be a great opportunity to help others,” Leslie Johnston, Floss’ primary raiser, stated in a release.

The Guiding Eyes Puppy Raising Program is comprised of more than 400 puppy raisers from Maine to North Carolina. They establish the loving human bond that is the foundation for the puppies’ future role in a guide dog team.

Raisers are provided the necessary training and support from a volunteer Region Coordinator. After about a year and a half, puppy raisers return the dogs to Guiding Eyes for evaluation. Dogs that pass their tests begin formal training with Guiding Eyes guide dog instructors. After four to six months of rigorous training, the dogs are fully prepared to assist their future blind partner in traveling safely and more confidently.

Living in the Johnston home, Floss was provided with many different opportunities for socialization, including visits to shopping malls, train stations and restaurants.

“We are so very proud of Floss. It is beyond words to see how she has matured into a beautiful guide dog,” Leslie said in a release.

It costs approximately $45,000 to breed, raise and train a Guiding Eyes dog, but there is no cost to the graduate. Funded solely by contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations and organizations, Guiding Eyes is able to cover all costs.

For more information on raising a Guiding Eyes puppy, contact Guiding Eyes for the Blind at 1-866-GEB-LABS or visit their website at www.guidingeyes.org.