Darien Eagle Scout Garrett Martin has been a longtime volunteer for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, so it was no surprise when it was time to work on his Eagle Scout project that he thought of Guiding Eyes. Garrett and his family started as puppy raisers in 2012 and later became a Brood foster when one of the pups they raised, Rhett, became a member of the breeding colony.

In March of 2019, Garrett reached out to Ellen Mitchell, manager of volunteer services, to see if there was anything he could create to both benefit Guiding Eyes as well as fulfill his Eagle Scout requirements. Garrett worked on a project that would help to lay the foundation for the puppies’ futures as guide dogs. Garrett made several items for the puppies to enjoy: toy boxes with hanging toys, ladders, and stairs.

These items serve many purposes: the toy boxes’ hanging toys touch the puppies’ bodies, developing the pups’ proprioception (the perception of the position and movement of the body) and serving as entertainment. The ladder provides excellent socialization to an underfooting, or an unusual surface that the puppies’ will walk on, and also aids with proprioception.

Additionally, the stairs help the pups practice and become familiar with using all four of their feet individually, which helps to build the strength of their stomach and leg muscles. These three objects are used daily and tremendously benefit the pups as they get ready to head off to the next step of their journey, the organization said.

For more information on Darien Scouting, visit darienscouts.org.

For more information on Guiding Eyes for the Blind visit guidingeyes.org.