Clinic Stories

Packer

The original plan was for my daughters, Lauren and Gwen, to raise a Seeing Eye puppy for their Girl Scout Gold Award Project. While their troop leader, who was also the district chairwoman, thought it was a great idea, the committee rejected it. Packer came anyway. A male German Shepherd, he was assigned the name by the Seeing Eye, who give all of the puppies in a litter names starting with the same letter.

Packer was all puppy, goofy, uncoordinated, playful. The dearest object of his affection was our dog, a spayed female Border Collie who wanted nothing to do with him. But he soon outgrew her and she learned to tolerate him. Despite his mild nature and constant playfulness, Packer was a delight to train. When working he took his job seriously and constantly looked up for cues as to what was expected of him. At the meetings he excelled, with a businesslike look of intent best described as his game face. At night he slept tethered to the foot of the bed to condition him for his future role as a guide dog, never stirring.

At fifteen months, he left us for training. He sailed through and was placed with a man in Pennsylvania, who said that this was his fourth Seeing Eye dog and the best. Even though Seeing Eye breeds their own dogs selected for the right instincts, most do not get through training or are rejected for health problems. Packer showed that a dog can take his job seriously and still have fun off the clock. He was truly a natural.

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