Ontario region switcher


For content relevant to your community in Ontario, Please select your region

Jane is standing on ice looking down at Sparkie who is sitting beside her on leash; Jane is smiling and sitting on a deck outdoors, with Sparkie standing beside her and kissing her face, and Scout is sitting on Jane’s lap, and looking up at Sparkie; Jane is standing with Sparkie who is sitting at her feet on a leash in front of a park map.

Raising Sparkie

While Jane Dodds was raising Sparkie, it became clear that this exceptional yellow Labrador-golden-retriever puppy had a special spark for life as a guide dog.  

Sparkie is sweet, intelligent, capable, and quiet,” says Jane, who was paired with the two-month-old pup in February 2020. “I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be entrusted with this adorable puppy.” 

For over a year, Jane and Sparkie bonded as obedience training and socialization became part of their daily routine. 

“Our day often started with me asking Sparkie, ‘What shall we do today?’ and he always let me choose,” says Jane.   

Sit, down, stand, wait, under, come. With Jane’s help, Sparkie eagerly mastered his training cues. From traveling on public transit to having outings with friends, Jane and Sparkie made time for both training and play.   

“Sparkie’s favourite place was anywhere his CNIB puppy pal, Flanders, and his Puppy Raiser, Claire, happened to be! We would try to meet a couple times a week to allow the pups some play time, practice puppy training together, and go to places to expose the puppies to new experiences. I think it enhanced the whole puppy raising experience for both Sparkie and me,” explains Jane.  

In April 2021, Sparkie completed his puppy training and progressed to advanced training.  

“I can hardly wait for Sparkie to be matched with a person with sight loss. I’m incredibly proud of Sparkie and all he’s accomplished so far,” says Jane. 

Jane’s commitment to such an important cause was integral to Sparkie’s success. She was able to learn more about guide dogs, share the experience with her supportive family and friends, and spend time raising an adorable puppy.  

“I’d like to thank Sparkie for the wonderful year we spent together. This has been by far my favourite volunteer experience. It’s been challenging, educational, rewarding, and fun!” 

Jane is currently raising her second CNIB future guide dog, Scout, a golden-retriever.

For information on puppy raising, visit cnib.ca/PuppyRaising.