For many of the young dogs, it was their first time using public transit.
Twelve puppies from the Alberta Guide Dog Services (AGDS) and their trainers experienced the sights and sounds of the LRT yesterday morning as part of a training program for the pups.
It is important that guide dogs be comfortable using the C-Train, as that is often the main mode of transport for their blind owners, says AGDS spokesperson Susan Deike.
LRT training also helps educate the public on the role guide dogs play in the community.
“It’s an awareness thing,” says Deike. “The more people see them, the more likely they are to accept them.”
It takes two years of around the clock training to produce a guide dog. “Sometimes I ask myself why I got into this,” says trainer Joey Boutin about his puppy Panther. “But I’m learning as much as he is.”
Currently there are more than 10 guide dogs working in Alberta, including one attending high school with his 17-year-old owner.
“It’s the ultimate life for a dog,” says Deike. “They get to go to work every day with their family.”