There are a lot of Alberta children who could teach adults a thing or two about how to act around Guide Dogs.
That’s because Alberta Guide Dogs is routinely visiting elementary school classrooms and making students more aware of Guide Dogs and how they help individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
Last year Alberta Guide Dogs, a division of BC & Alberta Guide Dogs, held 67 programs at 31 different schools. With each session lasting 45 to 60 minutes, it gives the students lots of time for questions and to talk about the training of Guide Dogs and how they help, says Trish Lund, Communications and Development Manager for Alberta Guide Dogs.
And it’s paying off.
“Our volunteer puppy trainers report that kids are much better than the adults at knowing that you mustn’t pet or distract a working dog or a dog in training. That’s something that we talk about during our program,” says Trish.
On a recent visit to the Calgary French & International School with puppy-in-training Roo and puppy trainer Linda, the students’ teacher had high praise for the program. She commented how it allowed the children to talk and do activities focusing on being blind. The teacher added that it was a program she would refer to other teachers.
Last year the program received $4,600 in donations. One student, who was part of the program in Grade 1 several years ago, now fundraises each spring for Alberta Guide Dogs. At a school in Lethbridge, all of the Grade 7 classes conduct a fundraiser each May.