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Returning a Puppy for Guide Training

Dr. Amy L. DeWitt, Professor of Sociology presents

“Returning a Puppy for guide training: factors that impact grief and Raising Again”

Wednesday, February 19th, 12 PM
Byrd Center For Legislative Studies Auditorium

Guiding Eyes for the Blind (GEB) breeds, raises, and trains dogs to serve as guides for persons with visual impairments or blindness. Their Puppy Raising Program enlists volunteers to foster pups for a year or more, providing socialization, basic skills training, and comfort so they will grow into confident dogs. The volunteers must ultimately return these dogs to Yorktown Heights, New York to begin training. For raisers, the emotional toll of this parting can be great.  Utilizing the 2017 GEB Puppy Raiser Survey data, this study analyzed factors that might impact emotional grief and the decision to continue to raise puppies. Cross-tabulation and ordinal regression analyses examined the associations of raiser demographics, organizational integration and goal attainment with self-reported emotional difficulty, recovery time, and likelihood of raising another puppy.

Dr. Amy L. DeWitt’s interests are primarily rooted in gender roles, the family, and gender portrayals in children’s media. Her articles have appeared in Sex Roles, Feminist Teacher, and Response. The raising of puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind inspired a new interest in the work of puppy raisers and dog guides. The current research will be published this spring in the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness. Dr. DeWitt received her Ph.D. from the University of North Texas in 2005 and is currently Professor of Sociology and Director of Academic Advisement at Shepherd University.