By Ellie Shiovitz
For my mitzvah project my mom and I are co-raising a puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Every day, I have to feed the puppy and teach her to wait patiently for her food; walk the puppy and teach her to walk nicely by my side; and groom/handle the puppy and make sure she is okay being touched all over so that she will be comfortable with her blind person and when going to the vet. We have to potty train the puppy, eventually teaching her to relieve on command. We have to socialize her and get her used to a variety of different places. We have to make sure she is comfortable traveling on buses, trains, planes, and in cars. We have to familiarize her with elevators, automatic doors and have her comfortable walking next to crowds of people, bikes, skateboards, construction, etc. We also have to train her to not be food or dog distracted. My favorite part is that we get to love her and play with her and provide a warm stable environment for her. We will have Kaelyn for 12-14 months. After that, we will return her to the school in California where she will train for another three months and then with the blind person she is assigned to for another month before going to live with them. I know training and raising a puppy will be hard work, but I know I am up to the challenge!
Click here for Ellie’s Bat Mitzvah notice in the Boulder Jewish News.