As part of our Charity Partner program, three of our colleagues have adopted guide-dogs-in-training to lend a hand to a local training center, VODICÍ PES, z.s.
More than 3,000 hours have been spent with our canine friends at organization ‘Vodicí pes’ in Brno, Czech Republic. Lucie Polesovska, Zdenka Rybanska and Petra Stodulkova were so dedicated to the cause that they chose to temporarily adopt and care for the dogs during their vital training sessions!
They had the pleasure of looking after a German Shepherd named Onyx, a Labrador named Nikita and a Goldendoodle named Anežka.
Petra & Anežka
Petra Stodulkova, PPG HR administrator for the UK, adopted a Goldendoodle, Anežka. Unlike other adopted dogs who are slightly older, Anežka is a puppy. At the guide dog school, puppies begin training at around 3 months old. During this time, they are adopted by a family until they reach the age of 1.
Afterwards, these older dogs are given to a new adopted family where they stay for 6-12 months. From here, they can be paired with a blind owner to provide assistance until retirement. Because her guide dog is so young, Petra has to devote more time to her.
This means she is required to keep Anežka by her side at all times and even take her to the office. Petra was initially scared of the important task ahead of her. Petra had no previous experience caring for a dog. However, through collaboration with the charity, they have been able to help her along.
It’s a huge responsibility. Fortunately, Anežka is very clever and has learned a lot. She surprises me every day.
Lucie & Onyx
Lucie Polesovska, PPG community engagement specialist for EMEA, found out about the program from Zdenka. Lucie was instantly willing to help out and managed to convince her boyfriend to adopt a dog with her – on the condition that it was a German Shepherd.
At Vodicí pes, you are able to select a preferred dog breed! They were excited to take Onyx home, who, at the time was only 15 months old and weighed almost 40kg. Daily training sessions were arranged, beginning before 8am. This meant a change to their daily routine. The pair find that adopting their German Shepherd has been like having a child!
We take him to the training center every day before work and pick him up afterwards.
Zdenka, Nikita & Xasha
Zdenka Rybanska, PPG graphic designer and branding specialist for EMEA, welcomed Labrador Nikita into her home. “I wanted a dog friend,” she says, “but I soon realized I was helping Nikita to make a difference to the lives of blind or people who are hard-of-sight.”
While Anežka and Onyx are still in training, Nikita was successfully paired with a new owner. This meant that Zdenka unfortunately had to say goodbye to her first Labrador, but since she enjoyed the process so much, she's recently welcomed a new guide dog into her home - Xasha!
It’s hard to say goodbye to the dogs, but right after the dog goes into service, you can adopt another.