Brent's Bio

Guide Dog Puppy Brent at Yellowstone FallsBrent's life was destined to be a special one. He was born a Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy and at 8 weeks he was placed with a family who would raise him to be trained for guide work, but it didn't start well. He quickly made his way back to Guide Dogs and by the time he reached us at almost 4 months old, he had quite a reputation, and it wasn't good. Brent had a wild streak and wasn't particularity fond of people, unless it was to use you as a chew toy. But being the first puppy we would raise, we didn't know any better. We took 'Bad Dog Brent' home and started our new journey together.

When you agree to raise a dog for Guide Dogs for the Blind, you agree to adhere to a strict set of rules and behaviors that you are to encourage in the pup. Your goal is to send your puppy back after 18 months well socialized and behaved so the trainers can focus on teaching the skills needed to be a guide. Calm was not a word that Brent understood at his young age, but long walks in the morning before Brent went to the office helped to expend some of his energy and a tired dog is a good dog.

Fortunately Brent soon came around, not because of any great dog handling ability, but just because we clicked. We had an understanding and he felt like he could be his true self. He began to enjoy interaction with the people he would meet on his daily outings. As time went on Brent continued to mature and show the confidence of a well socialized Guide Dog in training.

It was a sad and difficult day when we took Brent to meet the Puppy Van that would take him to Boring, Oregon to continue his training. We waited for news each week as he would progress through the steps to becoming a working guide. Exciting news soon came; Brent was chosen to be a breeder. This would be a life many would dream of, living with a host family in California, on call for whenever he was needed. I'm sure Brent was excited at the prospect.

Brent as a pet enjoying the riverHowever, Brent's life as a breeder was short lived. He had a small issue that prevented him from continuing as a breeder but fortunately this didn't affect any other part of his life, so he was neutered and returned back to Oregon to pick up his guide training where he left off.

Training progressed quickly for Brent, but as it came time to be placed with the person he would guide, he developed a gum irritation. Though they went to great lengths to clear up his irritated gums, they felt that the need for twice daily brushings would preclude him from being a guide. If for some reason a dog does not make it through the program and has been “career changed”, the puppy raiser gets first choice on whether they want that dog back as their pet. So I received a call and without hesitation, I quickly made the 12 hour car trip to pick him up.

Brent recognized me as soon as I called his name and he proceeded to lick me to death. We returned home and he immediately remembered where he was. In fact he went to his food container first. Brent was home.

Brent has adjusted well to his life as a pet; he enjoys sleeping on the bed, something Guide Dog Puppies are forbidden from doing. He picked up right where he left off, going to work each day and was a big help in raising his little Guide Dog Puppy brother Sanford.

Brent saves a coconut at Lanikai Beach, HawaiiToday Brent lives in Hawaii and enjoys playing at the park with his many dog friends or endless hours of saving coconuts from drowning at the beach.

You can read about Brent's Trip to Hawaii here.

Comments

Linda wrote almost 5 years ago:

Love this, thanks so much for sharing this story. I had a blonde Lab named Sally who looks so much like Brent! She passed away early this year and it was so nice to have a reminder of her in Brent! Linda Fowler

Sherry wrote almost 5 years ago:

Thanks for sharing your story, I loved it. I have a choclate lab and don't know what I would do without her. All the best to Brent and his family.

Heather wrote over 4 years ago:

Looks just like my Charlie, my best bud. Thanks for sharing the story.

Annie Siegmann wrote over 4 years ago:

I loved Brent's Story! I wish he and Rusty could meet, but alas, we live in Los Angeles.
Rusty came into my life Feb 02, 2002. He was the largest Cocker I'd ever seen. His beautiful blond face & big black nose made me laugh. It was his very funny walk that reminded me of, Clem Kiddlehopper!
Rusty was not born with very good eyes. In 2004, Rusty lost his left eye due to glaucoma.
At that time I made him some treats that I could use to train new commands for a seeing impared animal. (He's since lost the right eye too).
My neighbors started asking what was I doing and I replied, "Making The Boobah (Rusty's favorite nickname) some treats.
One thing led to another and now I have a little business, Ruff Ruff Bakery-natural treats for your pooch!
We have 4 Wheat, Corn & Soy Free treats (with the exception of the bacon flavor, which is Kosher Vegetarian to keep the fat down) and are in speciality stores throughout Southern California & Arizona.
I'm expanding to dog food now and Rusty is loving all of it.
Rusty is a Therapy Dog and gives back as well.
He's an amazing life who changed, my life, so much for the better.

Mahalo Brent! We love your Story!

Aloha,
Annie & of course, Rusty Siegmann

tricia wrote over 4 years ago:

thank you very much for giving us "bad dog brent's" story and for the info on petflight.com. brent's story touches the heart, and the info touches on many questions i had. thank you, trish

Marti wrote over 4 years ago:

I loved this story! it brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat.

I do have one issue though, I don't know much about training a guide dog But! Why don't the Guide Dog people go to shelters and get puppies from them to be trained.Instead of breeding more dogs!?
With domestic animals in such dire need to be adopted.
We have 2 dogs, an Aussie rescued as a pup and a Golden Retriever I got from a women who only bred her dog twice and then had her spaded.
I tried the Golden Retriever Rescue. They came and approved us but the waiting list for a dog under age 3 was a long one.
I have always wanted a Golden...now that I do, I can't imagine my life without him. Golden's are wonderful.
my Aussie, is a wonderful dog too. Though she doesn't like other dogs,she will go into "attack mode," she loves only our Golden
When we brought him home at 8 weeks, she immediately "made him hers" we were worried about bringing him home, but she loved him from the first and they are now inseparable.
We also have 5 rescue cats who just love Einstein, Solara they ignore, for she tries to "herd" them. LOL
When we lived in OR, their best friend was a Lab,the reason Solara loved him is because they were pups together. She was 2 when we brought Einstein home. So she became "mama."
So after this long winded story, my question is... Do the Guide Dog, folks rescue puppies from the shelters?
I can't seem to get it in my head as to why they wouldn't!
Marti

P.S.My husband is an RN, and we plan on coming to Hawaii, for about 6 months...Of course not without our "kids." We could never leave them for that length of time.
Thanks for reading,
Marti

Bonnie Powell wrote over 4 years ago:

I really enjoyed the story and the comments. I have a lab/great dane mix that has been trained for special needs. I would love to travel with him, but he is too big. When will the Pet Airlines get flights from Seattle, WA.?

Margie Clutter wrote almost 4 years ago:

In response to Marti's question about "Why doesn't Guide Dogs for the Blind get shelter puppies instead of breeding more dogs?" I think you answered your own question-- you talked about one of your "pound puppies" being aggressive towards other dogs. A Guide Dog has to be SO emotionally stable that they will behave perfectly with other dogs, humans, and in any imaginable situation. To accomplish this, the guide dog organizations breed only the best dogs (for their task) that they can find, then the pups are "socialized" daily from birth through their early months to every possible situation the trainers and puppy-raisers can devise. Even with all of this thought and effort going into each pup from the beginning, a high percentage of the pups don't make it through to actually become guides. Some of the guide dog organizations used to take donated dogs and pups, but found that very few of them had the qualities needed to work as guide dogs, so that's why they started their own selective breeding programs. Nothing at all against pound puppies; in the right situation many of them make wonderful pets! But most of them come with "baggage" that even lots of love and training cannot overcome to make them reliable guide dogs.

Robert Deming wrote over 3 years ago:

Thanks for the site and the info. Hope Brent is having fun in HI. I'm putting my GSD on a Continental flight pretty soon. She has never flown so should be interesting for her.

I've been searching for flights and found petairways.com. Wish they went to more places. We need to get the word out.

Jeremy wrote over 3 years ago:

Just wanted to thank Brent for his courage and story of flying to HI, it supported my wife and I recently during a very long day of flying our dog Moxie from New England all the way to Hawaii (Kailua as well!). About an hour after landing in Honolulu we had Moxie, and about an hour later she was wading in the Kailua shores.

Scott Watt wrote almost 3 years ago:

Hi!

May I use Brent's photo in a poster I'm making for our Service Animal Training day here at Orange County Transportation Authority in California?
We are hosting a day for Trainers to practice riding our transit buses for a day.
Thanks!

Kathy wrote over 2 years ago:

What a wonderful story. Other that seeing guide dogs with their "owners" ( I hate to use that term, I prefer buddy), I have no experience with them. I am just writing to say that I have a rescue. She came to the Virginia Beach Animal Shelter from a North Carolina. We believe she may have been with a Navy family who had to move (?). She went to a family in at 9 months who were ill-suited for a dog. They kept her outside in the winter from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. So, she had very little socialization. The family's neighbor was a friend and called me, knowing it had been just over a year since our sheltie died at age 5 from kidney failure. I went to meet her and this exuberant puppy, just a year old, ran in the doorway and literally into my arms as I was sitting on the floor near the back door. She was so excited and friendly and loving. For almost 11 years, her birthday is tomorrow, she has been a wonderful friend, companion and sweetie pie. So, he previous homes which failed for her were my wonderful fortune. "Michelle" is my heart and I really love her. My husband, and later my son, were in the Navy and deployed at times, and she has been my faithful friend. She still likes to go on escapades when the door is left open or the gate gets blown open - I jump in the car and find her. She once walked into the open door of a neighbor's house and toured the house until she came upon the residents and thankfully they were understanding and laughed at it. I found her and thanked them when I found out what happened. I pray for all the dogs in kennels. I encourage everyone to drop off food, etc for the animals at your local shelter. It's a good feeling to know that a dog is eating because you thought of them. Thanks for opportunity to share this. Bless all of you who help with the guide dog program. Kathy
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Coco Bean wrote over 2 years ago:

I really loved your story. Thank you so much for sharing and I hope that you and Brent will have many great years to come!

Pete wrote 12 months ago:

very nice story ,we lost our labs recently one in 2012. Our Lucy was a lab rescue and Julie last month 2013 we had here since she was a pup they were both around 12 when they passed.It was so hard for me to get over I still miss them and the happy times we had with each other.Well we did adopt again his name is River such a great dog of course a Lab too.I enjoyed reading about Brent and glad that he came home.

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Brent in at Koko Crater, the dog that started PetFlight The inspiration for PetFlight.

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