Jean & Jean

Jean pets a shepherd who is sitting on top of an overturned bucket. Jean the golden stands beside the bucket and watches closely.

Every dog that lives at the breeding station is assigned to a staff member, and it’s not long before each dog knows who their “special person” is. When the two-year-old golden retriever came to the breeding station, Jean requested that she be assigned to her since she didn’t have a golden in her group of assigned dogs at that time, and she thought it was neat that they had the same name!

“We all take care of all of the dogs, but you build a special relationship with your assigned dogs,” says Jean. “We worked together daily practicing good leash manners, to sit, stay, lay down and wait, come when called… Her big “trick” was jumping through a hula hoop! Jean liked to play in groups with other dogs in the play yard and her favorite activity was cuddling.”

Jean, the golden retriever, had two litters while she lived at the breeding station, with her assigned staff member there to offer love and support. Mothers live with their puppies when they are raising a litter and with another adult roommate when they are between litters.

When Jean retired, she was adopted by the family that raised her. Her puppies grew up to become successful guide dogs who would make their mother very proud.

“When our dogs retire from the breeding station, it is a bittersweet occasion… they take a little piece of your heart with them and you know they will always be a part of your life. I will never meet a sweeter, more loving, patient, dog than Jean. Jean loves people and enjoyed nothing more than to be with me, whether I was brushing her coat, throwing a ball for her, or just camping out in the lab while I did my work. It was especially tough to say goodbye to Jean, even with the comfort of knowing that she had a loving home eagerly awaiting her return.”