Hello New Readers!
My name is Shanna, and I am here to offer information, stories and other insights relating to service dogs.
I have been working with service dogs as a handler since 2001, and started training them professionally in 2007. Until recently, all my dogs came from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc., San Rafael, California. I worked for that organization from 2007 until 2011 as part of their training and instructional staff. I worked with both young dogs in formal harness training as well as with the clients they were matched with. I learned a lot during my time there and met a lot of great people along the way.
My first few guide dogs of my own were Labrador Retrievers. Labradors are the most popular breed in the world for service dog work, for lots of good reasons that I’ll discuss at another time. In early 2012, I had to accept that my beloved black Labrador Nestle needed to retire, meaning she wanted to stop working and live the rest of her life as a treasured pet and companion.
I needed another dog though, and I have always enjoyed and been partial to German Shepherds. After discussions with friends and family and tons of research, I decided to train my next guide myself. I located a reputable German Shepherd breeder, and she happened to have an older puppy she thought would be a good fit for my needs. A few weeks later, I met Diamond, my future canine companion. Five years later Diamond is no longer a gawky curious puppy, but a fully trained guide dog. Aside from guiding, she retrieves dropped objects for me, helps me with balance every now and then, and protects me from squirrels in her free time.
We have a lot of interesting adventures together, some of which I hope to share with you in future posts!