New Zealand GoBus driver George Dempsey combines two of his most important activities, driving a bus for students with special needs and training puppies for Assistance Dogs NZ Trust.
The kids think Zorro is awesome and Zorro loves the kids. More important, the bus run is a great way to socialize Zorro with a variety of people and allow him to become familiar with a bus and its movement. Eventually Zorro might become a service dog for adults or children with disabilities.
Zorro, a 17-week-old Black Lab cross, is the fourth dog Dempsey has raised for the trust. They have been together since Zorro was 8-weeks-old and will be under his care until he is around 14-months-old.
During this time he will teach Zorro good manners and basic house rules. As a part of Zorro's training he will go on many social outings with Dempsey. Besides the bus rides, Zorro will go to schools, hospitals and shopping centers to experience a variety of urban life situations.
After that he will be assessed by Assistance Dogs NZ to see if he qualifies for intensive training to become a service dog. Dempsey’s last puppy, Lobo, has gone to work with an autistic girl where he has had a positive impact on that family's life.
As hard as it would be to give up a puppy you have raised, there must be great satisfaction in knowing the dog was changing lives.