Diane Victor of La Verne, Calif., is one of roughly 300 families who make up Guide Dogs of America’s team of volunteer puppy raisers. She’s currently raising her first guide dog puppy, Flora, a 12-month-old Labrador Retriever.

Years ago, she attended an open house at the Sylmar, Calif., campus, never expecting she’d one day become part of the volunteer family herself. Much like fellow volunteer Glyn Judson, Victor turned to puppy raising to help heal her broken heart after making the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her own canine companion of 17 years.

“My heart was broken and I wasn’t ready to have another dog and have to make those terrible decisions at the end of its life,” Victor said. “I thought, ‘What better thing could I ever do than raise a puppy for GDA?’ ”

Victor says she’s learned a lot in her 10 months with Flora.

“Raising a guide dog puppy benefits you in how you treat other people and in how you treat other dogs,” she said. “I can’t imagine doing anything more worthwhile. I know that sounds hokey, but it’s true. You get a wonderful dog and the support of the organization.”

More than anything, Victor says raising a puppy reminds her to be thankful for her own good health.

“Boy does it remind me of my blessings,” she said. “How fortunate I am to have my mental, physical and emotional well-being. There are people not nearly as fortunate as I am, so why not do something to make such a positive difference in someone else's life?

 


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