Pixel is a yellow Labrador puppy from Guide Dogs of America in Sylmar, California, born April 4, 2014. She was bred especially to become a guide dog for a visually impaired man or woman from the United States and Canada. Puppies from GDA are placed with volunteer Puppy Raisers to learn basic obedience, to be socialized and to receive lots of love. Puppies stay in their foster homes from 7-8 weeks of age until they are about 18 months old. At that time they return to GDA for formal training. Initially the dogs are put through an extensive evaluation process which consists of a medical exam, including orthopedic tests, an eye exam with an ophthalmologist and a stress test. Puppies that pass the medical exams continue on to formal training learning how to be a guide dog. When ready, the dog will be matched with a blind man or woman that has been accepted into class. Guide Dogs of America provides the fully trained guide dogs and instruction in their use, free of charge. The organization is supported by the generosity of individuals, foundations, corporations and other organizations. They do not receive any funding from local, state or the federal government.
Pixel decided she couldn’t give up the smell of old books and can sometimes be found under Sharon’s desk at PBA. Pixel’s predecessor, Savvy, returned to the GDA Sylmar campus on April 19, 2014 for intensive formal training but decided to drop out of college in November 2014 and can be found (like any good college dropout) on her parents’ couch. Savvy’s predecessor, Rosa, graduated from the program with her vision impaired partner on July 7, 2013.
For more information about Guide Dogs of America, visit their website at www.guidedogsofamerica.org.