2018-09-06 / Life in Leelanau

‘Leelanau’ hits halfway mark in Leader training


STEVE AND MARY LANDRY smile on a sunny Tuesday with their dog-in-training, “Future Leader Dog” Leelanau. The six month-old German Shepard puppy is about halfway through his training time to become a Leader Dog. STEVE AND MARY LANDRY smile on a sunny Tuesday with their dog-in-training, “Future Leader Dog” Leelanau. The six month-old German Shepard puppy is about halfway through his training time to become a Leader Dog. A special visitor walked in the Enterprise office Tuesday on four legs.

Leelanau, a puppy being trained to be a guide dog for Leader Dogs for the Blind, stopped in with his trainers Steve and Mary Landry.

The Landrys and Leelanau were featured in an Enterprise story in May about Leader Dogs for the Blind. Regular visitors to the area, the Landrys named the dog Leelanau as an homage to one of their favorite places in Michigan.

How is the German Shepard puppy coming along with his training? “He’s still working,” Steve said. “It’s hard. That’s why only about half the dogs make it to work with a client.”

Now at six months of age, Leelanau is about halfway through his primary training with the Landrys before heading to Leader Dog for more intensive training at Leader Dog school in Rochester, Mich.

As previously reported, there is no charge for any of the programs and services offered by Leader Dogs for the Blind, including the leader dog, equipment, training, transportation to and from the Leader Dog Campus, and room and board for the 26 days a client spends on campus training with their dog.

It costs Leader Dogs about $45,000 to get a highly-trained dog into the hands of a client. To date, close to 15,000 dogs have been placed in all 50 states, as well 39 different countries.

Funding comes from individual gifts, endowment interest and service organizations, such as their largest donor, The Lions Clubs. Leader Dog relies on the generosity and dedication of their donors as they do not receive state, federal or United Way funding.

All three Leelanau County Lions Clubs support the program’s efforts with annual donations.

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