Here is Renee's interview with Adele Banas, a Volunteer Puppy Raiser for Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation!
She shares about being a puppy raiser with her husband and about Fidelco's puppy raising program!
Adele Banas and her husband, Ed, have been Volunteer Puppy Raisers for Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation since 2004. They have also adopted Fidelco career-change dogs as pets. “[Fidelco Co-Founder] Robbie Kaman introduced us to the Volunteer Puppy Raiser program. She described the time commitment, the weekly classes, and Fidelco’s philosophy and culture of community. We knew immediately it was something we wanted to be a part of. Ed and I are both teachers (now retired), and we love German Shepherd Dogs. As soon as we retired, we became Volunteer Puppy Raisers - and we’re still at it, eleven dogs later.”
Adele and Ed have raised Fidelco German Shepherd puppies “Joy,” “Lara,” “Ivy,” “Iggy,” “Colin,” “Spenser,” “Gaia,” “Feebee,” “Wookie,” and “Vader.” They are currently raising “Nara.” Adele says, “Each pup has a different personality and different quirks. We’ve developed a lot of patience.”
When Adele and Ed take puppies out into local neighborhoods, stores, parks, and other settings, they experience a deep sense of community. “Going out and about with the pups once they have earned their red vests has given us an opportunity to meet a variety of people. We’ve even convinced some to become Puppy Raisers! We have made lifelong friends with other puppy raiser families, trainers, and many people we’ve met in the community.”
Interested in becoming a puppy raiser?
Puppy Raisers take our pups at about eight weeks of age. They love and care for them. They participate in weekly classes at our Fidelco training center. Then, when the pups are approximately 14 to 16 months old, they return them to us for formal guide dog training.
Hundreds of families and individuals have participated in the Fidelco volunteer puppy raiser program over the years. They expose the pup to a wide variety of experiences in the home, on the street and in the world at large - the very things that the dogs will be required to handle as a guide for someone who is blind or visually impaired.