02/08/12 Mileigh “Rospopo,” Leader Dog for the Blind-in-training is continuing her real life experiences at Argos High School this year.  Her trainer, Allysen Rospopo is completing her required senior project on all types of service dogs.  Three months old when she arrived from Rochester Hills, Michigan, Mileigh is now eight months old. Mileigh’s purpose in attending school is for her to become socialized to all types of situations.  Today Mileigh experienced her first tornado drill.  She passed with flying colors!

Mileigh has also attended basketball games and she has gone to the mall and restaurants.  She also accompanies Allysen to work every day at the Plymouth Veterinary Clinic where she is learning appropriate behavior around other dogs.

Mileigh and Allysen also travel to Fort Wayne once a month for “puppy counseling.”  During these sessions, Mileigh works on basic obedience commands such as sit, down, recall (which means “coming when called”), loose leash walking, and appropriate behavior in all sorts of situations.  When Mileigh is bored, she sometimes cries for “more entertainment.”  To help with this problem, she has a “quiet mat” that helps remind her about “quiet time.”

Allysen’s interest in the Leader Dogs for the Blind program was developed during her 10 years of showing dogs in the Marshall County 4-H program.  Allysen and her dogs have also advanced to the Indiana State Fair for eight years.  At the State Fair, Leader Dogs for the Blind sponsors an informational booth where Allysen first found out about the program.  She was encouraged to apply to be a “puppy raiser.”

Mileigh is a wonderful addition to the student body at Argos which is a K-12 environment.  All of the students know who she is and have come to love her.  Although Mileigh is cute and exciting, everyone at school knows that when she is wearing her blue vest, she is working. This means no one should pay attention to her. Allysen wishes people outside of school knew about the blue vest, too When the vest comes off, all the attention comes Mileigh’s way.  When she refuses to behave Allysen’s commands, Mileigh has to go to the “babysitter” which is the high school office.  At the “babysitters,” Mileigh plays and works off some energy so she can be quiet for Allysen’s next class.

Allysen loves how everyone works with her and understands her project both at school and in the community. It has been a wonderful year for Allysen, Mileigh and all the students at Argos. Leader Dogs for the Blind is sponsored by the Lions Club and Allysen and Mileigh will be presenting a program for the local organization on February 23rd.

Rospopo says “I have become very attached to Mileigh and it is hard to think about the day she will leave me to return for her more extensive training, but I know she will be working for someone who needs her more than I do.”  She is looking forward to possible future visits with Mileigh when she becomes a bona fide “Leader Dog for the Blind.”