Guide dog 'Siefkin' visits Foundation for Blind Children - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Guide dog 'Siefkin' visits Foundation for Blind Children

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PHOENIX -

A few months ago, we introduced you to a guide dog that was named after our own Kristy Siefkin.

"Siefkin" the Golden Retriever recently made a visit to the Foundation for Blind Children and Kristy stopped by to check on his progress.

When we first met Siefkin, he was just 8-weeks-old; a little fluff ball who happily doled out puppy kisses.

By four months, he was excelling with obedience training, and still loved to sneak a puppy kiss.

Now 7.5-months-old, Siefkin has grown into a handsome, mature looking dog, but his raiser, Sandi Alsworth, says he's acting like a teenage boy.

"He is being a little more silly, it takes him more time to settle but he's doing really, really well for his age," said Alsworth.

So well, in fact, that Siefkin regularly travels with Alsworth on business trips.

He's learning to ride in the car, on a ferry, and even on an airplane.

He's also learning to ignore the temptation of food.
    
"It's important that Siefkin learn that he only takes food from the person that handles the leash so that when he's out in public with his blind person, that he doesn't just reach over and grab somebody's hamburger or somebody doesn't offer him something that could be poisonous to him or upset his gastrointestinal system," said Alsworth.

During Siefkin's visit to the Foundation for Blind Children, Siefkin and three other guide dog puppies in training are practicing another valuable skill: interacting with kids.

The Phoenix guide dog raisers host several gatherings at the foundation each year, bringing together visually impaired kids with well-mannered, lovable pups.

"I do truly believe that these dogs understand the difference between these children and the general public children that are racing around and being crazy. There's a gentleness that overcomes these dogs when they are around these children," said Alsworth.

These safe, structured visits can help children overcome their fear of dogs.

They also introduce a blind child to the possibility of a future with a guide dog.

"We have a student who came through here 20 years ago, Tanner Robinson just picked up his guide dog this summer and it's his first dog and he loves it," said Marc Ashton, CEO of Foundation for Blind Children.

Siefkin still has a lot to learn before he'll return to California for his formal guide dog training.

One thing he's definitely mastered? Giving a kiss. But this time, it's on command.

If you are interested in volunteering to raise a puppy like Siefkin, Guide Dogs for the Blind is always looking for new volunteers.

Visit www.guidedogs.com for more information.

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Guide dog "Siefkin" continues training

Introducing 'Siefkin', guide dog in-training

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