Pet Expo Passes, Puppy Raisers, and Guide Dogs

March 2011


For someone who does Career Coaching for a living, it is funny to me that it has taken me so long to bring dogs back into my life.  After all, I wrote to Ann Landers at 10 with my dilemma of wanting a dog career but didn’t like blood so couldn’t be a vet, didn’t want to breed because there were too many unwanted dogs already, and didn’t think I could leave my Mom to take Guide Dog Training in Ontario!

Lucky for me, I saw an advertisement in December for Alberta Guide Dogs seeking a Puppy Raising Supervisor.  By now I have clued in a bit to take a variety of dog training courses, have my dog certified by PALS to be a therapy dog, and write an off leash dog training book, called COOLdog, a Guide to Safe Off-Lease Fun.

I was hired.

Off I go to BC to learn from the Guide Dog Instructors, which included a blind fold walk.  Folks, I can’t tell you in words how that experience impacted me.  I was paired with Rory, who took me through a parking lot, through doors, away from clothing racks in the middle of the aisle, and to save my hide from a sure collision by moving to the left and stopping.  Coming straight for me were three people not noticing Rory and I.  Her careful maneuver  saved me from colliding that was so close I could feel the air move between the fast walkers and I.

By the time we arrived at the restaurant, I was so in awe of this little black dog I was moved to tears.  Rory of course, took it all in stride.  Just another walk for this Guide Dog in training!

Rory is featured in the Spring episode of Modern Dog; and she has now passed her advanced training with BC Guide Dogs (

Well, better late than never.  After 20 years of People Coaching, I can now add official Dog Coaching to my portfolio of skills.  It is indeed a privilege to be a part of an organization that is all about helping others.

That includes of course, the volunteer Puppy Raisers!  Their willingness to raise a wee puppy for up to 18 months before they go to big dog Guide School is incredible.  The time, effort, and love they give to our dogs is crucial in order to have a Guide Dog for the Blind.  Thank-you!

Currently, we are looking for some Puppy Raising Volunteers in Calgary.  You are: full of love, devotion, and patience! ,  are willing to attend obedience classes twice a month, have numerous training outings with me, and are not working(or working from home).  Our pups can only be alone for a few hours at a time.  It is best that only one other dog is in your household.

The rewards are great, the time is steep, and the love is deep.  Call Sherri Olsen at Alberta Guide Dogs for more information at 403-612-7878, or email me at .

I hope to see you at the Calgary Pet Expo Mar 26 and 27!   I still have some passes available. Please email/call and I will provide!


Sherri Olsen