Article by Laura Matthews, library events and outreach specialist.
Four years ago, while at The Special Olympics, I found out about raising puppies for The Seeing Eye. I raised my first pup in 2012, a female yellow lab named Carey. She went on to become a breeder. Last fall, on October 28, 2013, the only female from Carey’s first litter of six pups—seven week old “Baby N”—was delivered to our house.“Baby N” was named Nova! A complete, bizarre, and utter coincidence; especially because less than a year later I myself would become employed at Villanova. (I love it when life comes full circle!) Nova would spend 12-15 months with us learning and growing while being exposed to all sorts of new things. She spent at least one day of the week on Villanova’s campus with my father, who also works here.
Raising puppies to become guides for the blind is bittersweet, yes, but incredibly worth it.
The Seeing Eye called – it is Nova’s time to return for her formal harness training. She will more than likely become a guide, or as I like to say, a blind person’s new best friend or perhaps she will be a breeder like her mom. Regardless, I am excited to see what her future holds. The Seeing Eye knows how much I enjoy The Special Olympics and has allowed her to stay so she can make an appearance on Saturday November 8th. On Wednesday November 12th she will say her goodbyes to Villanova’s campus and return to The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey.
If you are interested in learning more about The Seeing Eye or perhaps you are thinking about raising a puppy (I highly suggest the latter, it is more rewarding than I can put into words) please visit The Seeing Eye’s website: http://www.seeingeye.org/ And you should probably click on “Raise a Puppy,” – just saying!
Come on out to the 2014 Special Olympics Fall Festival! The festival will be held November 7, 8, and 9, rain or shine.