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Saturday, December 3, 2022
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Puppies Ride Train to Butterfly Festival

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Puppies being prepared as seeing-eye dogs hitched a ride on the rails this past Saturday. | Image by CBS

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More than a dozen puppies being prepared as seeing-eye dogs hitched a ride on the rails this past Saturday on their way to the Butterfly Flutterby Festival in Grapevine.

It was all part of their training as future guide dogs, organized by Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB), a nonprofit organization based in San Rafael, California.

The festival, now in its 25th year, celebrates the annual migration of monarch butterflies from Canada to Mexico by way of Grapevine. During the festivities, pups and trainers hung out together with other attendees at the event.

The excursion, including the ride via TEXRail, was an effort to acclimate the dogs to public transport systems as well as large crowds.

Guide Dogs for the Blind was founded in 1942 and now operates across the U.S. and Canada. The organization has graduated 16,000 groups of dogs over the years and notes that it does not receive any taxpayer-supported government funding, relying strictly on donations instead.

Regarding their services for the blind and visually impaired, the GDB website states, “All services are provided at no cost to you — this includes your guide, transportation to and from our campuses in California and Oregon, instruction, and more.”

They also provide “alumni with a lifetime of support. You will become part of a world-class alumni association and also receive the following benefits: financial assistance for veterinary care, as needed; in-person follow-up visits; access to a dedicated support center, and when the time comes for a guide to retire, we can discuss the potential for a successor dog.”

Their classes are two weeks long, and they keep a tight ratio of students to instructors at 2:1. Interested individuals may apply to be a part of their student program, explore resources, or donate to their cause on the GDB website.

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