Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Jason comes home: A story for those who love dogs

Submitted by Debbie and Bob Gillispie

Our family has always had a dog—small, large, pure breed, rescue. 

Jason at a year old sailing in Whays Creek.

When we lived in Tennessee, Cody, our wonderful golden retriever, died just prior to our transitioning back to Virginia where we planned on retiring. Like so many we hear from, after losing such a special family member it is not always easy to start over with a new fury companion. So we experienced a year or so pet free, busy with moving and settling in our new environment.

In the spring of 2013, Bob and I decided on a different route, applying to Guiding Eyes for the Blind (GEB) to be puppy raisers. Guiding Eyes is in New York and provides specially trained dogs to people who have vision loss. GEB breeds the dogs for the physical and mental demands of guiding individuals through different environments. At approximately eight weeks of age, the puppies are sent to volunteer puppy raisers across the country who nurture and teach the pups basics for the next 16 months. After that time, the year-and-a-half-old pups are returned to Yorktown Heights, N.Y., for their professional training before being placed with a vision impaired individual.

After some interviews and training by GEB, we were delighted to be assigned a beautiful, joyful lab, Jason, and began a journey that is still going on today. We would look at pup Jason and just melt. Those big brown eyes, that big block head—he was magnificent! 

It took about a day or two after having him that we were thinking when in came time for Jason to go back to New York maybe we would skip out of the country never to be seen again! We joked about that the entire time he was with us. He was well behaved, never barked, did not chew, house training a breeze—sweet, sweet, sweet! However, when it came to his purpose in life, those attributes did not seem to be in his DNA. 

At GEB puppy training classes, all the other puppies just seemed to be ahead of Jason all the time….

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Rappahannock Record Staff
Rappahannock Record Staff
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