Meet Pitot, Udel's Cutest And Fuzziest New Member!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Her Campus UDel’s only non-human member! Pitot is a 10 month old male German Shepherd who accompanies our Head Editor, Emma (aka me), to Her Campus meetings. Pitot is one of the sixteen puppies currently in the Puppy Raisers of the University of Delaware, a club that raises puppies for the Seeing Eye in hopes of them becoming guide dogs for a visually impaired individual.

As a disclaimer: obviously Pitot cannot speak, so I did my best to interpret what he wanted the Her Campus community to know.

HC: First of all, can you please tell everyone how you pronounce your name?

P: It’s pronounced “pee-toe”! I was told it’s the last name of a famous engineer, and that someone very generously donated to the Seeing Eye to name me that, so I think it’s pretty cool.

HC: What does the Seeing Eye and the Puppy Raisers of the University of Delaware do?

P: The Seeing Eye works to “enhance the independence, dignity, and self-confidence of blind people through the use of Seeing Eye dogs.” That’s what my raiser told me their website says! The Puppy Raisers of the University of Delaware (we just call it PRoUD) raises us puppies for about a year. During that time, they love us and take us places so we can get used to a lot of different environments and get more confident, so we can hopefully become a guide dog and change the life of a visually impaired person someday!

HC: How old were you when you came to UD?

P: I was 7.5 weeks old and only 6.5 pounds! My raiser said I was a “little bean.” I don’t know what that means, but she sounds happy when she says it, and she still calls me that even though I’m over 60 pounds now!

HC: How long will you be at UD for?

P: I only get to stay with my raiser and friends for about a year. My fellow puppies and I get dropped off when we’re 7 or 8 weeks old, and we go back to the Seeing Eye when we’re 13 to 16 months old. While I’m here, I get to learn my basic commands and get to be exposed to a lot of different environments so I can get more confident and used to things I will experience as a guide dog. I’ll get to learn how to be a guide dog when I go back to the Seeing Eye. I’m going to miss my raiser and my friends, but my raiser says I’m going to change someone’s life and I’m so excited to do that!

HC: What commands do you learn?

P: I learn a lot of stuff! I’ve learned how to walk nicely but with a firm consistent pull on leash, as well as commands like “sit”, “down”, “rest” (which is our command for stay), “park-time” (so I know when I’m supposed to go to the bathroom), “recall”, “forward” and “come.” I also have to get used to getting baths, getting my nails trimmed, getting my ears cleaned and getting my teeth brushed.

HC: What do you do while you’re on campus?

P: I get to do pretty much everything my raiser gets to do! I started off living at home with her, but then in August we moved into this building called a dorm. I get to live with her, go to classes, go on car rides, go to the gym, go to get coffee and food with her, go to school sporting events… pretty much everything! She always calls ahead to the places we go to though, just to make sure I’m allowed, and always makes sure I’m confident and ready to go to those places. She tells me I’m super cute and a good boy though, so I don’t know how anyone could resist letting me visit! We also go to PRoUD events and meetings -- I love those, because I get to see all my puppy friends and I always get lots of pets! Whenever my raiser can’t take me somewhere, she lets me spend time with one of the awesome puppy sitters we have in the club.

HC: What’s your favorite place to go?

P: I love hockey games! There’s this thing called a “puck” and it’s so fun watching it zoom across the ice! I also love to visit all my friends at Starbucks -- my raiser takes me there pretty much everyday.

HC: What do you like to do when you’re not doing things on campus?

P: I love to take naps and play outside! My raiser takes me to a really sandy place she calls a volleyball court. My favorite game is “chase”, because I like to take my toys and make humans and other dogs chase me to get it. My favorite toys are crinkly and squeaky toys, but I also love tennis balls. I also like fetch and to go hiking with my raiser and puppy friends.

HC: How do people know that you’re not just a normal, 10 month old puppy?

P: Us puppies in the puppy raising program wear green bandanas or vests that tell people we’re part of the program! We have to earn our vest by showing off our commands.

HC: What’s your favorite food?

P: I eat Purina Pro Plan puppy food, and I love Milkbones! I also love to eat ice cubes.

HC: How did you start going to Her Campus meetings?

P: My raiser went so I started going too! I love meetings because everyone gives me snuggles.

HC: What is one thing you would like to tell the members of Her Campus?

P: I know I’m super cute but if you see me working with my vest on, don’t take pictures of me or pet me! My raiser usually says yes when you ask, but taking pictures or petting without permission makes me super excited because I love people, but it may not be good at the moment and can make it harder when I go to become a guide dog. Keep an eye out for me on campus though, because my raiser loves to talk to people about puppy raising! If you’re interested in learning more about the Seeing Eye or puppy raising in general, visit the Seeing Eye’s website at seeinggeye.org. You can also visit the Puppy Raisers of UD page to learn more about us and our puppies at https://udpuppyclub.com/, searching Puppy Raisers of the University of Delaware on Facebook, or following @proudpups on Instagram!