We are proud to name the MIRA Foundation as our Canadian ResQpartner of the Month! With this recognition, the MIRA Foundation will be the beneficiary of the April NexGard® check-in promotion and will receive doses of NexGard® flea and tick control for their Guide Dogs in training.
Simply put, the MIRA Foundation provides exceptional dogs to exceptional people. Through their extensive training and canine selection process, the Foundation facilitates life changing bonds between Guide Dogs and Canadians with disabilities.
Learning about the Foundation, its mission, and the people whose lives have been transformed by the presence of these special canines has been wonderful.
Here are 10 things you need to know about Guide Dogs, their training and their people!
1. MIRA Guide Dogs are referred to as “St. Pierre” or “Labranese”.
“At MIRA there is basically a mixture of two breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs and Labradors…The goal of breeding this combination is to achieve the best physical and behavioral features in a dog to ensure that they are healthy and compatible with the needs necessary for an intelligent guide dog.”
2. Before they begin official training at the MIRA campus, the puppies spend at least one year in foster homes for socialization and basic training.
“The dogs are followed on a monthly basis… and come back to MIRA regularly for evaluation.”
3. After leaving their foster families, MIRA dogs spend 1-2 years of intense training at the MIRA campus.
4. Only a small percentage of dogs graduate and become Guide Dogs.
Psychological factors, temperament, and intelligence are all taken into account when determining whether or not a dog is suitable to become a guide dog.
5. The dogs are trained to work off-leash.
This is important for safety reasons. If the handler drops the leash or harness – the dog must know not to move.
6. Handlers are taught alongside the dogs.
“Guide Dog etiquette requires that people should not talk to or pet the dog while the dog is working. People must ask the handler’s permission before talking to or petting the dog. The handlers are taught to be very strict about this.”
7. Compatibility is extremely important.
“When matching a guide dog with a handler-in-training, many factors are considered: the personality of the individual, the temperament of the dog, the size and strength of the individual, the size of the dog, the responsiveness of the individual and the dog.”
8. A person that receives a dog must be the only person to take care of the dog.
This helps facilitate the bond between the dog and handler. It also teaches the handler to be conscious of the dog’s needs.
9. Sometimes it’s OK to disobey!
The dogs are taught “intelligent disobedience”. If the handler gives a command that would put him or her in danger, the dog is taught not to obey.
10. Even Guide Dogs need a little time to play!
Like everyone else, Guide Dogs need breaks. So, every day, in a safe place (and out of the harness / off the leash) the Guide Dogs have time to play and let loose.
For all the amazing work The MIRA Foundation does, and continues to do, we are proud to announce them as our Canadian ResQpartner of the month. With this recognition, The MIRA Foundation will be the beneficiary of this month’s NexGard® check-in promotion. The dates of the promotion are April 1st – April 30th, 2016. During the course of this promotion, for every person that uses the ResQwalk app to “check-in” to a Canadian veterinary clinic, Merial will provide one dose of NexGard® flea and tick control (up to a maximum of 50 doses during the promotional timeframe) to The MIRA Foundation. ResQwalk users are limited to one eligible check-in per month.
NexGard® is a trademark of Merial.
*To partake in the promotion, you will need to download the most recent version of the ResQwalk app.*
By Bailey Schroeder, ResQwalk Founder
Content sourced from Fondation MIRA and the MIRA Foundation USA.