Hey dog lovers! I hope your weekend went by nice and slow and your work week goes by nice and fast! Sunday I met with the great people of the San Diego Guide Dogs for the Blind at Petco Park when the Padres hosted them inside their new game day Bark Yard Suites as a way to honor and recognize the work they do in the San Diego pet community. The group brought two 5 week year old puppies in training to the game which made this the highlight of me weekend. Holding and playing with the puppies made me a happy soul. Playing around f with them was limited however, as a Petco Park game is an ideal environment to evaluate the progress of their training. They really seemed to be enjoying themselves taking in the sights and sounds of the game, mean while I admired the sounds and smells of puppy breath! Does anyone else have trouble resisting the urge to play with service dogs especially when they are puppies? Service puppies in training are like oxymorons! You know you shouldn’t disturb their focus, but you can’t help it. It was fascinating learning about the work that goes into selecting a puppy to be a guide dog and the training that goes into the process. They scout puppies at 5 weeks old and begin formal training at 26 weeks. Training is in effect 16 out of the 24 hours in the day. For the next year, the puppy will undergo several activities a week that will determine if the dog is a good fit to lead the blind. Beyond the time and effort trainers spend with the puppies preparing them to be a guide dog, what I found most impresisve about San Diego Guide Dogs for the Blind was the compassion and selflessness these trainers possess that give them the strength to turn over a dog they’ve grown and worked close with over over a significant amount of time. I most certainly would never be able to give up a puppy I spent the past two years raising. Director of the San Diego Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sam Rindskopf, shared “it’s not easy, by any means, but knowing these dogs are fulfilling a purpose and reaching their true potential makes learning to let them go rewarding, and slightly easier”. What a gift the people of SD Guide Dogs for the Blind are giving back to the community. It makes my heart so happy to see how they volunteer their lives to service training dogs for people whose need them. Stay turned because come tomorrow night ( Tuesday ) I share more about the process that goes into training guide dogs on an all new SDLive on FOX Sports San Diego, after the Padres game! I hope you will tune in and watch! Woof!