On a recent Saturday afternoon, a group of 51 people and 26 dogs assembled at busy Union Station in downtown Los Angeles for a day-long socialization adventure designed to familiarize their Guide Dogs of America puppies-in-training with public transportation, while practicing obedience around real-world distractions.

The training event was organized by volunteer Glyn Judson of West Los Angeles.  Judson is currently training his eighth guide dog, Sal, a 17-month-old black Labrador Retriever. He turned to puppy raising after his beloved Doberman Pinscher died at 14.

“I told my wife I never wanted to make another one-way trip to the vet with a dying elderly dog in my arms … it was killing me,” Judson said.

Judson lost his pet on a Saturday, attended a graduation ceremony at Guide Dogs of America the next day, and within a few short weeks, began raising his first puppy.

So far, two of the dogs he has helped raise have gone on to graduate as working guide dogs. He’s hopeful Sal will be number three.

When it comes to puppy raising, people always ask how he can handle raising and bonding with a dog, knowing he’ll have to give it up. While the “goodbyes” are always bittersweet, Judson says he’s been prepared for the emotional moments from as far back as when he raised his very first GDA puppy.

“I don’t know what was going on in my brain before I ever did this, but I was absolutely prepared from day one, to raise my dog as best I could, with the desire to have her leave me so that she could go on to learn more and hopefully become the eyes of a visually impaired or blind person.”

He acknowledges it can be an emotionally tall order.

“It’s not to be taken lightly,” Judson said. “This isn’t about us. This is about a dog and someone we’ve never met before. That’s the one big component you have to remember … it isn’t about you.”

 


Comments

Ben Peters
03/27/2012 4:26pm

Let's hear it for this fine organization, the dogs, the people, and a big shout out to my old pal, Glyn Judson. Great going all around!

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