Gail Leonard Answers: How Can You Give Them Up?

This question always makes me smile. In my mind, I never “give up” my puppy. Yes, my puppy will leave me and return to GDA for advanced training. Yes, my puppy will, hopefully, be matched with a blind partner and begin a new life without me. But “give him up?”— It just doesn’t happen!!

The way I see it, my puppy will always be my puppy, just as your child will always be your child even though they no longer live with you in your house. What are your goals for your child? Do you want them to be sitting on your couch and eating your potato chips forever or do you want them to find a fulfilling life of their own?

When it comes time to send my puppy back to GDA, I think of it as sending “my child” to “Doggie College”. At college, he works hard at his lessons and I receive reports from his “professors” outlining his progress.

Then, one day, I hear that he has met someone “special’. He has found his “love match”. GDA calls it a “graduation”, but I look on it as a wedding ceremony. At this ceremony I get to meet my puppy’s new life partner. I get to see them together; I get to see the affection; I get to see the commitment; I get to see the joy!

Then I get to go home to my newest puppy, hug him, and hope that I will be able to send him to college and, some day, attend his “wedding”, too. And I know I’ll do it again and again and again and again and again…….How could I not?!

Gail Leonard and puppy

Pictured above is Gail Leonard and one of the 17 puppies she has raised for Guide Dogs of America.


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