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Raising Guide Dogs for the Blind: A Multi-Case Study of High School Puppy Raisers in FFA Programs
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As the instructional program of agriculture, food, and natural resources (AFNR) continues to grow, students are offered diverse opportunities. One opportunity is raising guide dogs. Raising puppies is gaining popularity as it correlates with Texas agri-science courses such as Veterinary Medical Applications and Small Animal Management. Students in AFNR and members of the FFA are opting to raise guide dogs as Supervised Agricultural Experiences instead of, or in addition to, the more traditional livestock projects. However, the outcomes of the puppy raising program and the effects on the puppy raiser are unknown. In this qualitative study involving multiple case studies, student guide dog raisers, their parents/guardians, and the Guide Dogs for the Blind club leaders/agricultural science teachers were interviewed to determine the impacts and challenges associated with raising guide dogs as a preliminary attempt to fill the existing gap on this subject. Face-to-face interviews were used at two Texas high schools that currently have a guide dog raising program integrated into their AFNR program and FFA chapter. Results in the students suggest an increase in maturity, patience, and confidence as well as increased networking opportunities for raisers and potentially influencing students’ career paths. Challenges from the students’ perspectives included time management, public interference, and advocation. From the GDB leader/agricultural science teachers’ perspectives, challenges include starting the puppy-raising program initially, administrative approval, and the time required to run a program of this kind. Comparing puppy raising to raising livestock, students gained similar competencies. More research is needed to quantify these competencies but this study showed that competencies do exist.
Guide Dogs for the Blind
Supervised Agricultural Experience
Barbeau, Shannon Nicole (2017). Raising Guide Dogs for the Blind: A Multi-Case Study of High School Puppy Raisers in FFA Programs. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from