Meet The Class of 2012
Training takes place at the County Connection all year long to assure that bus operators remain current with all state and federal licensing requirements. But once each year County Connection participates in a different kind of training – puppy training.
Through their volunteer network, San Ramon Valley Guide Dogs For The Blind raise and train puppies to eventually be paired with an owner. Part of the training involves learning how to use public transportation, so they will one day safely assist their owner in daily travel.
“The puppies need to learn how to use the buses if they are to graduate and become guide dogs”, said Louise Pay, club leader for San Ramon Valley GDB. “Before trainers take their puppies out into the community using public transportation, they need to make sure the animal is not frightened by the noise and movement and can remain under the trainers’ control.”
During their training at the bus yard, puppies are encouraged to walk around the bus while it’s running and become familiar with the sights and noises associated with the bus. They hear the air brakes and the release noises when the bus “kneels”. They hear the doors opening and closing, and the ramp unfolding or sliding out from the undercarriage. However, the majority of training is spent practicing the use of the mechanical wheelchair lift. If nerves are going to come out, this is typically where it happens.
“We’re thankful that County Connection helps us each year with this important element of training. This step is just as important for the trainers as it is for the puppies. They leave the bus yard knowing what they need to work on with their puppy.”
For information on San Ramon Valley Guide Dogs For The Blind, please visit www.srvguidedogs.com.
County Connection operates a fleet of 29 ft., 35 ft., and 40 ft. fully accessible fixed-route buses, and a fleet of 63 paratransit vehicles. Updated schedules are available at BART stations, City Offices, and public libraries throughout central Contra Costa. For immediate schedule information, please call Customer Service 676-7500 or visit www.cccta.org for more information.