Every day, for almost a full year, Hana Kim, a volunteer with Guide Dogs for the Blind recorded a one-second video of the puppy she was raising to eventually become a service dog.
“A puppy raiser spends approximately 12 to 15 months with the dog making sure that he is ready for the next step … to wear a harness and the actual skills to become a guide dog,” Kim writes. During that year, Lombard learned basic commands, manners, and socialization.
The volunteer captured the whole process in this touching compilation:
Unfortunately, on January 23, 2016, Lombard was determined not a good fit for the program—the stress of the training had begun to give him anxiety.
“As much as I wanted Lombard to succeed, he wanted something different,” Kim wrote on YouTube, where the video was posted.
Instead, Lombard became a family pet to Kim and is now named Gumbo. In the future Kim hopes to train him to become a therapy dog. But for now, she explains, he gets to relax and have fun: “He spends his days chasing balls, destroying toys, getting dirty, and going hiking,” she says. Follow him on Facebook here.
This situation, although disappointing for the puppy raiser, is not uncommon. Dogs that “fail” service dog programs are often successful in other careers. For example, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) typically uses dogs who were too high-energy to graduate from Guide Dogs for the Blind and Puppies Behind Bars to be explosives-detection dogs. Read more here.