Guide Dog Foundation: Alfie

In 1946, when the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind was founded, its mission was simple: to provide guide dogs and training – free of charge – to people who were blind or visually impaired. 

Alfie is one of many amazing dogs in the Guide Dog Foundation's program, trained to help incredible people who need the assistance of a trained Guide Dog. 

How old is Alfie and what is a brief background/story about him?

Alfie is a nine-month-old Black Labrador Retriever in-training to become a service dog for a veteran or first responder with disabilities. Alfie is the Corporate Puppy With a Purpose with the PenFed Credit Union and is being sponsored by the company. Alfie lives with his volunteer puppy raiser, Andrea McCarren, PenFed Credit Union’s Vice President, and Chief Content Officer.

What type of work does the pup do and what makes him special?

Alfie is in-training to become a service dog for a veteran or first responder with disabilities. America’s VetDogs dogs learn a variety of skills that are tailored to the need of the individual. These skills include nightmare interruption, retrieve dropped items, provide balance, open and close doors, turn on and off lights and much more. From eight-weeks-old to two-years-old, these dogs are training to provide continuous support for their veteran or first responder.

Can you explain Alfie's opportunity of being the Puppy with a Purpose with the sports team or organization?

PenFed Credit Union is sponsoring Alfie’s journey to become a service dog as a part of America’s VetDogs’ Corporate Puppy with a Purpose program. You can follow Alfie on Instagram and Twitter to keep up-to-date with his training and for some PAWSOME content.

What are some of Alfies favorite things to do/eat/etc.?  

Alfie and his puppy raiser, Andrea have many adventures together, specifically with traveling! Andrea travels across the country for her career and of course, Alife is always there to join. Alfie is able to experience so many new sights, sounds, and environments he had never been in before. All this travel will help make Alfie a confident service dog that can work in all circumstances.

How will the Big Barker be used in Alfie’s training and life?

The Big Barker dog bed serves as a unique training tool for Alfie. Alfie will be taught the cue “place” where he will learn to target a specific bed as his ‘place’ to go to when the command is given. This skill is so important because it is serves as a way his future handler can give him a cue go to his bed, if for example, someone comes to the door, the handler is opening an oven, etc. It is a safe space where the client knows the dog is out of the day of any potential danger. Not to mention the bed will also provide Alfie a snuggly place to go and support is bone and joint health.

If Alfie could tell the world one thing, what do you believe it would be?

Alfie would tell the world to give back to the community. PenFed Credit Union is dedicated to serving the veteran community. The organization even has a philanthropic arm, ‘The PenFed Foundation for Military Heroes’ that works to empower military service members, veterans and their communities with the skills and resources to realize financial stability and opportunity. Alfie’s puppy raiser, Andrea has been a volunteer of America’s VetDogs for several years, raising four future service and guide dogs.