Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas – Sandy Ridgee Campus (CASLV) just gained a new member at the school: Octave, a black Labrador Retriever puppy working toward becoming a guide dog for the blind.
Current CASLV High School Sophomore Claire Binfield is raising Octave as a part of her Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada Gold Award community service project, which is the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve. She is currently training Octave to become a certified guide dog for the visually impaired.
Octave is 4 months old and goes everywhere with Binfield, including school, as part of her socialization training. Once Octave completes her first round of training with Binfield, she will return to Guide Dogs for the Blind’s San Rafael, California campus for professional training to become a leader dog. Guide Dogs for the Blind puppies are trained for approximately two years before becoming leader dogs for the visually impaired.
Though raising a Guide Dog for the Blind puppy is not a current school program, she received permission from CASLV to have Octave on campus. Octave is trained to be “invisible,” laying quietly at Binfield’s feet while in class and to ignore all distractions – including food. Octave is trained to solely focus on her handler at all times.
Binfield says she chose this project due to her passion for working with animals, her active lifestyle and independent nature. “By raising a Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy, I will be able to give someone the sense of confidence and independence to have a more active and social lifestyle… Everyone at Coral Academy is very supportive. Students are now asking more about the program and how they can train their own dog.”
Concludes Yolanda Flores, principal, Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas – Sandy Ridge campus, “The school community really embraces the idea of having a guide dog in training on campus. Claire did a great job of prepping the school community by hanging flyers in classrooms and drafting emails that included FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) for families. Thanks to her thorough preparation, we addressed all possible concerns, from allergic reactions to perceived distractions. The reality is staff and students just go about their day as they normally would. We definitely plan to continue this program.”
Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas (CASLV) is a K-12 state sponsored, tuition-free public charter school where students are selected by a lottery system. The school’s curriculum focuses on STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.For more information, go to www.CASLV.org.