Pepper, a black Labrador-golden retriever cross with brindle markings, as a puppy laying on grass while wearing a bright yellow Future Guide Dog vest

Raising Pepper

Scarborough's Jeannie Cahill was retiring from a dog walking job when she discovered CNIB Guide Dogs.

“I just love it," says Jeannie. "Taking the puppies with me makes the dullest errands so much fun. Honestly, I am just not my best self without a fur buddy at my side.”

It was June 2019 when Jeannie met Pepper. As a puppy, Pepper was always easy to spot during playdates with other future CNIB Guide Dogs. The black Labrador-golden retriever cross has distinctive brindle markings.

“We just love Pepper's cute markings – brown on his two front paws, with a brown patch on his bum," says Jeannie.

“Pepper was a very sensitive puppy, yet he loved going anywhere and doing anything,” says Jeannie. “He eventually knew when it was Wednesday because that was “Girl Guide day” – he attended all my weekly meetings. Once in a while he played, making the group laugh. Otherwise, he would snuggle under a table for a nap.”

Whether it was crossing a suspension bridge, visiting friends, zoos and campfires, or jumping in a ravine, Pepper was always keen to try new things.

"It's so rewarding to see the dogs succeed," says Jeannie.  "That's why I continue to volunteer with CNIB Guide Dogs."

“Pepper made everything more fun,” says Jeannie. “He turned drab chores into fun events, with his tail wagging high and a wiggle in his walk wherever we would go. He even knew which aisle(s) had my favourite wine!”

Pepper graduated as part of CNIB Guide Dogs’ class of 2021. Today, he is an exceptional guide dog for a young man in Embrun (near Ottawa) , helping him navigate his new neighbourhood after recently moving into a new house.