At Guide Dogs for the Blind our K9 Buddy program is designed to introduce the concept of a Guide Dog to visually impaired children and their families. This experience enriches children's lives through the human-animal bond and will help them make an informed decision on their future with a Guide Dog as a mobility partner.
"Jack's experience with the K9 Buddy program and being placed with Nougat is really laying a foundation for him in learning dog handling skills and working with a dog and caring for a dog which is really going to be the foundation for success for him if and when he decides to get a Guide Dog in the future. Jack's responsible for the grooming--making sure Nougat's brushed. Jack's also responsible to make sure that she's fed. Jack takes her out for walks. When out, Jack's responsible to control her. Nougat goes with Jack--it's Jack and Nougat. They're the team."
"My daughter Mary is eleven years old and is one of the first recipients of a K9 Buddy in the United States, and we're very excited for her. I hope that Mary can show people what a great opportunity this is to introduce a dog into a blind child's life."
After Mary and her sister come home from school and have a snack, she feeds and cares for her, grooms her. Mary plays with Vickie, and even plays the piano for her.
"We've never had a dog in our house, and now Vickie, our dog, is part of our family, and I don't know what we'd do without her."
All K9 Buddy dogs have basic knowledge of obedience, and are well-behaved with people and other dogs. K9 Buddies are not service dogs. They're a pet/companion for visually impaired children and their families.
"I love taking care of Ingris. She's my buddy."