RANCHO SANTA FE — During the past several years, Pottorff/Tidmore — Willis Allen Realty in Rancho Santa Fe has been involved in The Guide Dogs of the Desert organization in Palm Springs.
The group first became aware of this organization when a client became a puppy-raiser to a golden retriever named Jake.
“Puppy raisers take a pup home at 8 weeks of age and hand raise them with basic commands in a 24/7 atmosphere,” Tammy Tidmore said.
At 18 months, the dog goes back to the facility and goes through intensive training.
“Some make it, others don’t,” Tidmore said. “After training, the sight-impaired individual and the dog do training together at the facility where the person stays and trains for several weeks to get the dog used to his person and the person used to the dog. Graduation is a huge day of celebration, when the dog, paired with its sight-impaired person, goes to its new home and new life’s work.”
One of the ways the group raised money was to invite the public to name a guide dog. However, the pup Pottorff/Tidmore — Willis Allen Realty wanted to name for a holiday gift to its clients was not born until almost February. The little yellow lab pup is now ready to be assigned to a puppy raiser.
“We never waivered on what to name the little guy,” Tidmore said.
It was Willis, a reflection of the man who supported many San Diego animal and humane causes and the founder of their company, Willis Allen Real Estate.
“Willis actually means protector, and we believe that is the perfect description of what a guide dog truly does,” Tidmore said. “Our loyal clients will be getting regular pictures and updates of what this little guy is learning; the adventures he is having with his puppy raiser, the paces he will go through with his trainer and the eventual story of his new life with his forever person.”
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