We recently had a very special guest at Next Level Performance: Trudi. Trudi is a 10-month old German Shepard and she is a service dog in training. She joined us here at the office for a week to learn to be a good corporate citizen. Suffice it to say, many hearts were stolen.
The Seeing Eye is an organization the Next Level team has often supported, as part of our mission to give back to our community. Seeing Eye puppies are raised by loving volunteers who train them in the basics of being a good companion in a multitude of environments, from home to work and everywhere in between. At the end of one year, the puppy returns to the Seeing Eye for further training and to be paired with a lifelong partner. Trudi is one of many puppies destined to live and work side-by-side with a blind person to increase their independence.
Joining her puppy raiser at work gave Trudi a chance to get used to the coming and going of our busy Travel department, adapting to strangers coming into our lobby and the steady thump of the folding machine for a large mailing. She handled it with grace and calm – not easy for a young German Shepard!
Before she arrived, the Next Level team was asked not to engage Trudi when she had her working-dog vest on, as this was a signal to her that she was “on duty” for her companion. Trudi spent most of her day snoozing by the puppy raiser’s desk, sitting up to get a good look at us if we approached. But when she wasn’t wearing the vest, all bets were off. Busy Next Level teammates stopped in to give pats or briefly play with her, offering a toy or a hug before heading to the next meeting or out the door. She was always happy to get our attention and certainly made the day brighter.
In the next few weeks, Trudi will grow to become a great service dog for someone who could use a little help. We are missing her already but know she’s on her way to doing an important job. In the meanwhile, we’ll just think of her as a fellow Next Level teammate and wish her well.
To find out more about how the team at Next Level Performance gives back to our community, check out our website.