Members of the Northwest Glendale Lions Club received an update on their special pet project — guide puppy in training — when Cybelle came to visit the Jan. 24 meeting at Shakers Restaurant.
Sarah Jane Chelin, puppy raiser, and her mother, Chantal Chelin, talked about Cybelle's home life and progress with her training.
The dog is cosponsored by the Lions Club and Glen-Park Retirement in Glendale owned by Lions member Tillman Pink. It was Pink's suggestion to adopt the Guide Dogs of America Project.
Lions member Vince DeSantis coordinates the project, said publicity chairman Ross Adams.
The total charge to produce a guide dog team is $42,000, said Daryl Lasky, development coordinator of Guide Dogs of America. This cost covers the breeding of the puppy, obedience training and formal guide dog training. Also included in that cost is transportation to and from Guide Dogs of America, as well as room and board for the 28-day in-residency program for a visually impaired individual.
“As Guide Dogs of America does not receive any federal, state or local government support, nor are any of the costs of a guide dog team reimbursable through private or government insurance programs, we rely solely on the generosity of thousands of individuals across the country,” Lasky said.
The NW Glendale Lions Club's $5,000 sponsorship covers the cost of the basic puppy kit (leash, collar, ID tag, bowl), 10 35-pound bags of dog food, microchip, medical costs (spaying/neutering, vaccinations and veterinarian visits), periodic evaluations by training and puppy department staff, obedience training, puppy bib and adult jacket. This sponsorship lasts from when the puppy goes home with the puppy raiser until the dog returns to Guide Dogs of America for formal training, which is about a year and a half.
Before the meeting, Pink and NW Glendale Lions Club President Bob Dollenmayer posed for pictures while walking Cybelle.
Cybelle is now 7 months old and lives with the mother and daughter, the family dog, Bailey, who is a therapy dog and disaster service dog, and two cats. Cybelle will stay with the family for 18 months before she goes to Guide Dogs of America for formal training and, hopefully, graduation and finally into service helping a disabled person.
Sarah Jane takes Cybelle everywhere, to work at Bank of America, the dentist, chiropractor, grocery store, beach and movies. It helps her become exposed to different environments, Sarah Jane said.
Throughout the meeting Cybelle slept under a table next to her trainer's feet. After the meeting, Chantal led Cybelle through a routine of obedience skills. Chantal placed a treat on each front paw and Cybelle had to wait until Chantal gave her the command before she chomped them down quickly.
JOYCE RUDOLPH can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.