Eager Eye Guide Pups is a puppy club in Issaquah, Washington. We raise puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, based in San Rafael, California.
Eager Eye was started in 2000 by Sandy Bonsib. Since that time, the club has grown, divided, grown again, and divided again. Within 5 years Eager Eye helped 3 new clubs form in the Issaquah area.
We receive our pups when they are 8 - 10 weeks old from Guide Dog's California campus, where they are all born. As puppy raisers, we keep the pup we receive in our home for approximately a year. When a pup is ready, he or she returns to Guide Dog's campus outside of Portland, in Boring, Oregon, (approximately 3 hours driving time) for advanced training to become a guide.
Why would you want to raise a puppy and then give it up? That is the question that puppy raisers are asked many, many times. There are so many reasons to raise a puppy for such a wonderful mission in life -- to become a guide dog. Our puppies are bred to be calm and smart, and they go places with us every day, which is so much fun. They are allowed access inside stores, restaurants, baseball games, and many other places, unlike a pet, because of their green vests identifying them as service-dogs-in-training. If you like doing things with a puppy, puppy raising could be for you.
The people who raise puppies are all ages. We help each other, we become friends, and we are united by our love for our puppies and our commitment to our mission to raise a puppy to become a guide. When a puppy raiser goes on vacation, another family usually is able to take that puppy while the raiser is gone. Puppies can also go on vacation with the raiser in most cases.
Throughout your journey as a puppy raiser, you will meet the most amazing people and puppies -- puppy raisers, blind people, wonderful and committed staff from Guide Dogs for the Blind, even strangers on the street who will come up to you and thank you (really, this happens!) for raising puppies. There is so much more to puppy raising than raising a puppy and giving him back.
If your puppy becomes a guide, you are invited to come to Guide Dog's campus in Boring, Oregon, participate in graduation, and present the puppy you raised to the person he or she will guide. And if your puppy doesn't make it as a guide and is "career changed" instead, then he or she is offered back to you as a pet. If you don't want to accept the puppy you raised as a pet, that's OK -- Guide Dogs carefully screens and places your puppy in a loving home.
We always need new people to raise puppies. Please contact us if you live in the Issaquah area and think you might be interested. If you live in Washington state but not in or near Issaquah, there probably is a club near you that we can refer you to. If you want more information, remember that you are never obligated to become a puppy raiser just because you contact us, but if you contact us, we will give you a chance to come to meetings and outings, handle puppies, ask questions, and talk to other puppy raisers. Then the decision is yours.