Guide Dogs of America’s 20th Annual Open House was held on Saturday, June 9th, where more than 140 puppies and puppy raisers were on hand to go through our Puppy Trials.
The Trials are the main event of the day – an obstacle course full of puppy sized distractions, temptations, and challenges.
The theme of Pirates & Puppies was brought to life by many folks in sea-worthy attire and puppies sporting jolly bandanas.
There was even a pirate ship playhouse called the “ARRRF” which was set up for photo ops and then raffled off at the end of the day. Many thanks to shipbuilders Bob English & crew!
The festivities halted for a moment to acknowledge the addition of a new structure on the GDA campus – the dedication of the Kovaric Pavilion. The old graduation area at the end of our dormitory building is an important space for our student training and grooming, for our puppy classes, as a tour stop and for other events like Open House. It was often in need of repair and we were looking for a permanent and rainproof solution.
The Kovaric Family stepped forward wanting to help us in memory of their son Brian, a devoted Puppy Raiser and dog lover.
The project began in 2005 and, because it was necessary to work around our guide dog mobility classes, was finally completed this year. GDA’s president, Jay Bormann was there to commemorate this wonderful gift and to honor the Kovarics and Brian.
The day continued with a guide dog demonstration and the Finals of the Puppy Trials. Raffles, merchandise, food and a large silent auction were available for all to enjoy until the end of the day.
Another successful Open House at Guide Dogs of America… but don’t forget next year, our 60th Anniversary!