The last time we checked in on our talented, confident and ridiculously adorable PEOPLE Guide Dog at Large, he was on his first walk and talk with the trainers of guidingeyes.org.
This assessment helps the staff see how their guide dogs in training are developing and what important skills they have learned while living with their puppy raisers. Murphy, our beloved pup, impressed his evaluators and was awarded with his puppy vest (duh!).
“This is a major milestone for Murphy and Maddy (one of Murph’s puppy raisers) as a team,” Bethany Reinhardt, Regional Manager of the Puppy Program at Guiding Eyes, explained. “A puppy vest is to start preparing Murphy for the guide dog harness he will wear one day. We teach all of the pups at a young age to be comfortable wearing different jackets, sweaters, and their puppy vest. Murphy will wear his vest when he is out socializing in ‘the real world,’ the vest shows the public that he is a puppy in training, and also is starting to teach Murphy that when the vest is on, he is in working mode.”
Murphy is a big fan of his new ensemble, which is in part thanks to his dress-up days in puppy class. Now that he looks the part, Murphy is working on more skills to help him become the best guide dog he can be. Right now, this includes learning how to “heel.” At this point, when one of Murphy’s puppy raisers shouts “Heel!,” whether he is on or off leash, our pup will return to the caller and sit on their left hand side. This is an important command for when he is partnered with a visually impaired person, who will need to get his attention without difficulty.
But it’s not “all work and no play” for Murphy. The Labrador loves to go on excursions with his buddy Chunk. The pair recently went on a long muddy hike, which ended with an equally enjoyable warm bath time.
During their time together, Chunk and Murphy have discovered they have many shared passions, including digging and chasing each other in circles.
To learn more about Murphy and his training or to donate to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, visit guidingeyes.org.