Commissioner takes on guide dog duty



Falcon (right) and Hero
  • Falcon (right) and Hero

OK. I admit it. I'm a sucker for a cute pooch. So are lots of people, so enjoy these photos and release about El Paso County Commission Chair Amy Lathen's latest pastime.

The press release:

Visitors to the Office of El Paso County Commissioner Amy Lathen are likely to spot a young black Labrador Retriever sleeping quietly in the corner. Commissioner Lathen and her family are raising the puppy for Guide Dogs of the Desert, a very special guide dog school in Palm Springs, California.

The school has named the dog Falcon, recognizing both the Air Force Academy and the Falcon Community in Eastern El Paso County. He will be with the Lathen family for about 18 months before he is assigned to a legally or totally blind handler for permanent placement. “This is something we wanted to do as a family as a sacrifice to serve others who rely on a specially trained dog to be their eyes,” Lathen commented. “Falcon will be with us for about 18 months before going back to school for the expert training to become a guide dog. We already know that it will be very difficult for us to give him us [sic] when the time comes.

But Guide Dogs of the Desert does such good work and these dogs mean so much to the people who need them that we decided to take on the duty of raising him as a family project. We are also grateful for the work the school does for returning military who have sustained vision damage through the Heroes Helping Heroes program.”

Falcon was formally presented to Commissioner Lathen by Sandy Esposito and her Guide Dog, Bobby.

“He’s just a puppy but Falcon displays a lot of what it takes to be a good Guide Dog," Esposito said. "Falcon met his own hero when he met Bobby,” Esposito noted in reference to her Guide Dog. “He has a lot to learn over the next 18 months. In the meantime we expect a lot of people in this area will see him here at the County Office Building and out and about with Commissioner Lathen and her family and we hope this will be an opportunity for them learn more about the important jobs these dogs perform for the visually impaired.”

The Board of County Commissioners passed a formal resolution at its September 13th meeting recognizing National Guide Dog Month in September and highlighting the important work done by Guide Dogs of the Desert and Lions Club International in providing services to the blind and visually impaired. You can learn more about Guide Dogs of the Desert at:

Falcon with his harness.
  • Falcon with his harness.

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