For the Redmonds, who socialize at least two puppies twice a month, it has been a very positive experience; however, it's always a challenge when the puppies move on to their new owners.
David Rucquoi and his family have been socializing puppies for Guiding Eyes since after he and his wife felt it would be beneficial to their family to raise dogs but not have to experience the pain of watching the animal grow old and die. In addition to having the opportunity to raise multiple dogs, Rucquoi said the chance for his kids to see the people who benefit from the guide dogs is a very special moment. As hard as it is to give the puppies back to GEB Redmond said it's something she sees her family doing for a long time.
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It's such a dynamic program and I think it's a lifelong commitment," she said. Once the dogs are about 16 to 18 months old, they return to GEB where some will begin training as future guide dogs. However, not all of the dogs will be trained as guide dogs, Brier said.
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For dogs who receive training to guide the blind, training consists of a four- to six-month period where the dog learns how to navigate with a blind person and help them avoid potential obstacles. The dogs also learn to disobey commands, so if their owner tells them to move forward but the dog sees a car coming, it won't move," Brier said.
Because the families who help socialize puppies are required to attend training sessions on a regular basis, Rucquoi is hoping more families in Darien will get involved so a training program can be conducted in town.
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We're always looking for more dog sitters and raisers," he said. Labrador puppies arrived at the Redmond house Wednesday morning. The family will socialize the dogs who will then be trained nas guide dogs.
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Photo by Jeanna Petersen Shepard. Gery said there was previous discussions in around this topic.
The Parks and Recreation Commission at the time tried to find an appropriate middle ground to appease residents in favor and against the idea. The resolution was to allow dogs off leash Monday through Friday from dawn to a. However, with the recent inquiries from residents, the discussions have been brought back to the beaches.
One of the issues that deterred these conversations previously were worries of people not picking up after their dogs. An initiative that could help the potential pilot program is seeing residents show an effort to police themselves. They really are very important to the town.
If this is something residents really want, forming a similar group to ensure people pick up after their pets could go a long way, she said. This could provide an incentive for residents to work with the town to keep the beach clean.
For now, both the commission and department want to gather as much information as they can to help shape the program. Tony Schell, of Fairfield, and his dog Chloe, take advantage of the sunny spring weather to dig for buried treasures at Penfield Beach in Fairfield, Conn.
Photo: Brian A.