“Mona” and “Angie” are two Labrador bitches, who live in our neighbourhood. These bitches are also Goran's friends since a long time, because he is the only male dog in the district. So my boy is enjoying a certain advantage of the place.
Mona, the brown Labrador bitch, came 1997 as a sponsored dog into the family of the neighbours. First nobody exactly knew what a “sponsored dog” means at all:
Sponsored dogs for blind people come as a puppy with eight weeks into the families, in order to check whether they have the appropriate suitability to get the training to lead the blind. That is decided with one year, who brings along the abilities. The training takes again a half year, whereby approx. thirty hearing signals must surely be controlled. That is a lot and by these such dogs must have a lot of intelligence and absolute obedience is required.
Then the ready trained dogs come to blind humans, so that in a two-week training the dog becomes “adjusted” to their humans there. That means that humans and dog must form an absolute unit, in order to be a brought in team. Such a trained dog is very valuable, because the required training is very expensive and the trainer also needs a lot of patience.
Since 1996 Goran and I learned to know three “sponsored dogs” of this family. 1997 the eight weeks old “Mona” came to our neighbour's family. But however she has not become a leading dog, but a breeding dog. She has given birth to twenty-eight puppies during her life.
60-70% of these dogs finished their training to get the license as a ready leading dog. As a breeding bitch Mona owns the genetic conditions that their sons and daughters need, so they are all able to pass the examination of a leading dog.
But also “Angie”, the old yellow Lab bitch, must be mentioned here. She does not only watch but took over a certain “aunt function” by helping Mona to raise and educate the puppies. But Angie is also a particularly nice dog in the neighbourhood. If I come and pass “her” garden, she is already waiting behind the fence for a small cookie. But with nine years she is allowed to eat a little bit more.
Four friendly Ladies from 4 generations: Angie, Akoya, Neska und Mona (May 2006)
Now the neighbour family is pleased to get a remaining daughter of Mona. She is called “Neska”, and is now ten weeks old. It is amazing, how well this puppy already obeys on commands. The training to get the license of a leading dog already begins during the puppy's age. Now Neska has got familiar with all everyday life situations. On children, family, dogs and strange humans she has been already coined. She is an unlocked, merry small dog, which once becomes a blind leading dog perhaps.
I could experience that the puppies' further life path is pursued by the neighbours. Therefore the family is proud on the fact that the dogs help to facilitate the blind's life. But only 2% of the blind possess a leading dog in Germany.
In the meantime Mona and Angie has passed away. Now Neska is an adult bitch and has got ten puppies some time ago. The family kept a black one. It is called “Akoya” (the Pearl). This bitch is a passionate hunter. The family has stopped with the tradition to take over a “sponsored dog”.
In memoriam I gratefully want to think at these two unusual Labrador Bitches “Mona and Angie”, which helped many blind humans to receive a well-trained leading dog and to facilitate their life:
Mona 1997 – 2006
Angie 1991 – 2007
All texts and images, except otherwise noted, copyright © Dr. Margrit Miekeley