Diary of a Dog

Andretti tried to make it through guide school, but had one issue that forever changed his life

Photos by Scott R. Kline

I was born at the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus in San Rafael on May 30, 2011. All Guide Dog litters have the same first letters in their names, so my siblings are Alamo, Angeline, Anson, Arbor and Aubrey. If you think our names sound funny, it’s because no two dogs active in the program can have the same name, so we have to get creative. When I was eight weeks old, I went to live with my puppy raisers Robin and Warren in Palo Alto. With the help of lots and lots of treats, they helped me learn how to sit and stay. Since Guide Dogs go everywhere with their partners, we did field trips to places like Costco and the fire station so we could get used to any situation. Robin and Warren’s niece Alana helped with my training too, and she took me to her classes at Palo Alto High School. Although I aced all my activities, my trainers discovered one habit that I never grew out of—I drooled. Since a blind person can’t notice a puddle that someone could slip in, I wasn’t a good fit for the program. Instead, I use all the skills I learned as a Guide Dog puppy to work as a therapy dog. With Warren, I visit sick humans at El Camino Hospital and Robin takes me to places like the library, college campuses and detention centers where I meet humans’ puppies, or “kids,” as they call them.