A New Face

Laura & Mindy the Guide Dog puppy

So I have an announcement to make… There’s a puppy here.

I know, I know, it’s really soon. Really soon. And, that’s a retriever face. But stay with me for just a moment.

I’d been thinking about raising a service puppy for months, actually. Guide Dogs for the Blind has opened a puppy program for KPA CTPs specifically, and I’d been kicking around the idea. I had finally decided against it, though, with my dogs being ill and not particularly retriever fans.

When Laev died so very suddenly, though, I faced a totally dog-less household. A totally empty household, actually: my husband works out of state much of the time, and it was often just me and the dogs. And then me and the dog. And then me. I was comfortable home alone, but it made the void even more stark.

I am certainly open to both rescue dogs and puppies from a dedicated and careful breeder, but usually either I happen upon a dog I didn’t plan on (Chaucer was put in my yard by family after they’d found her abandoned in a parking lot for three days) or I research the heck out of them (I looked at Doberman breeders for nearly two years before bringing Laevatein home). So I would be without a dog for a while, and I’m just not comfortable acquiring a dog in a hurry to fill a void.

But the Guide Dog puppy was something I’d already been thinking about. Not a kneejerk response. Husband and I had already discussed it, even.

So we determined that a Guide Dog puppy would be a good “interim” dog. She can’t stay forever, but we know that from the start. I can be doing some good with a dog who will change someone’s life while I think about the next dog who will stay forever.

So I contacted Guide Dogs for the Blind, explained my eleventh hour decision, and asked about picking up a puppy while at Clicker Expo in Long Beach, just days away. They had one puppy left.

So, meet Mindy.

She has many tasks and behaviors to learn, of course, but her number one priority is socialization. She needs to learn to be calm and focused in any situation. She starts with the plane ride home. (Yipes!)

I’m excited about the training ahead of us. It’s going to be an interesting (in the good way!) year. Stay tuned for Mindy’s updates!

About Laura VanArendonk Baugh CPDT-KA KPACTP

Laura was born at a very young age and started playing with animals immediately after. She never grew out of it, and it looks to be incurable. She is the author of the bestselling FIRED UP, FRANTIC, AND FREAKED OUT. She owns Canines In Action, Inc. in Indianapolis, speaks at workshops and seminars, and is also a Karen Pryor Academy faculty member.
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  1. What a cutie – and great decision! I also spend much of my time home alone with my two GSP boys and can’t imagine how lonely it would be without them shadowing me about the place. I hope it all goes well and you don’t have too many sleepless nights.

  2. Yay, great to know! As a Lab lover myself and happy owner of two elderly Lab girls, I can only say this cute little face brings me very sweet memories. I’m sure Mindy will help you focus and go through grief without feeling so alone. And I bet she’ll go on to become an amazing service dog, under your guidance. Best of luck for the two of you.

  3. Great decision, Laura! Mindy is going to be an awesome guide dog with you as her foundation/socialization trainer. Lucky dog…. lucky you! :o)

  4. Very happy to have you join the ranks of puppy raiser! I’m looking forward to hearing more! Our latest, Levi, is just 11 weeks old, so they’re sort of on the same trajectory. Enjoy, this is a fun, fun, fun job!

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