BORING, Ore. (KOIN) — Guide Dogs for the Blind is hosting a summer camp this week to introduce teens to the guide dog lifestyle.
The summer camp hosts youth from around the country, ages 14-17, to prepare them for having guide dogs of their own. The program teaches mobility skills along with the responsibility of caring for and owning a dog.
Guide Dogs for the Blind has a large campus in Boring.
Zach, a 16-year-old from Dallas, Texas, walked with a guide dog for the first time on Monday, and says the camp will help him prepare for dog ownership. He hopes to be matched with a dog within the next few months.
Although many teens don’t receive guide dogs until they are older, Zach is set to receive his soon and plans to bring him to school with him.
“I grew up in an environment with only visual people. I never meet any other blind people, ever, just because of the way I go to public school, just the way it is,” he says.
“It’s easier for people to understand the situation, because it’s something that they have in their lives, everyone has dogs. Dogs are lovable. So they connect with that a lot better than they do with a stick.”
Guide Dogs for the Blind was established in 1942 and is supported only by donors and volunteers.