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Lemoore HS students are training guide dogs

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Students at a South Valley high school are training puppies that will serve as guide dogs for the blind. Instruction at Lemoore High School goes on as usual, even as a four-legged companion tries not to call too much attention to himself -- both inside and with his friends outside the classroom.

"I take him to school every day, all of us do and they live with us at home, they sleep in our bedrooms, they go to church with us. Anywhere we go, the dog goes with us too," said Kasaun Bull, a senior at Lemoore High School.

These students are helping raise puppies that will serve as guide dogs for the blind. "I think it teaches students a lot of responsibility. It's like having a kid, which is a lot of work," said Bull.

"They're going to be raising the puppies that will hopefully be somebody else's eyes in the future and they're not being paid to do it. It's strictly volunteer," said Marybeth Hearn, the Dog Guide puppy advisor. Students who are part of her veterinarian class care for the pups for about a year. In that time, they help socialize the dogs and potty train them.

"This has been one of my high school goals since my freshman year since I first came into the class. I wanted to do it and I'm just very happy I'm getting the opportunity," said Alyssa Houston, a junior. Alyssa Houston has been anxiously waiting her turn to raise a dog that will someday change someone's life for the better.

On Wednesday, the Guide Dogs puppy truck pulled up in front of the school to deliver 6 new puppies to students, including Houston. Houston was overjoyed when she held her assigned pup, Triton, for the first time. "It's a great opportunity. I'm so honored right now. I can't tell you how good I feel right now," said Houston.

But she, like the rest of the handlers realize they won't keep the puppies forever. "It's going to be heart breaking because I'm going to get very attached but I'm ready for it," said Houston.

Six months from now, Triton and the rest of the puppies will leave their trainers as quickly as they came in. But it's a life lesson these students say they'll never forget.

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animal, lemoore, kings county, local, carlos saucedo
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