I've borrowed another picture of Keith (the golden retriever who's seen squeezing through the puppy gate in an earlier post). This time he's in action at the Cumberland County Farm Fair, meeting a cow.
County fairs are great places to take the Seeing Eye pups, for all the exposure they get to people and the other animals they may not be familiar with. We also get a lot of great questions about puppy-raising from other fair-goers. Never be reluctant to ask us a question. That's part of our mission, to raise awareness of the future guide dog's training and mission. Our puppy-raiser club puts on a demo every year at the Gloucester County 4-H Fair and staffs an information booth with pups on hand.
Keith's encounter with the cow reminds me of when we took Porter, our Lab pup, to the Cook College agricultural expo back in 2005. Daughter Betsy and I walked him all over the place, introducing him to every farm animal we could find. When we walked up to a pen full of piglets, Porter peered in, just as a curious piglet came up to the wall and gazed back at him. Struck by the obvious similarity between pup and piglet, Betsy announced that she was becoming a vegetarian. She did -- and still is. We may be training these pups, but they are also shaping us!