Meet – SERENA!
Born: 28 July 2015
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Colour: yellow

Aleksejs says:
I first met my future guide dog Serena in August 2017, when her trainer Zaiga asked me to look after the dog while she was away. I agreed and thus Serena entered my life! Right from the beginning, I felt that this dog was very loving and attentive. She had spent her youth in Finland in the care of her foster mother Elvi, who is a supporter of our organisation and had already raised lots of puppies that were future guide dogs.

Serena 8 mēn.

Serena has the typical character of the Labrador breed, their characteristic “will to please”. Thus, right from the very beginning she started to care for me. At night, when I would turn over in bed, she would run up to me, check that I was okay and would sometimes lick my face. I tried to sleep more peacefully in order not to disturb Serena. In time, we learned to get along with one another! There’s nothing that gives Serena more pleasure than sitting on my lap (something that Zaiga does not particularly approve of!).
When Zaiga returned, she and her husband Juha decided to give me Serena as my new guide dog! I was not prepared for this, because Teodors’ passing was a very painful experience for me. After several conversations with Zaiga and Juha I agreed. I relied on the arguments put forward by these experienced trainers. I prepared for a new challenge, because Serena had won my heart!
In autumn, my joint training with the dog began. We both had to learn to listen to one another, hear with our inner hearing and feel with our sixth sense. In principle, Serena was already a trained guide dog, but to the surprise of our trainer Juha, she didn’t really want to work together with me. For example, she would not stop when we came to the curb of a read. It turned out that I had not used Serena as a guide dog often enough. I had usually walked along the street with her without a bridle, getting by with just my white cane. As a result, the dog did not consider it necessary to guide me. Therefore, the following spring, we underwent new, second stage training. I had to do a lot of intensive work with Serena every day! We regularly repeated stopping at the curb before the driving surface, finding a pedestrian crossing, doors, steps, cash registers, public transport stops, climbing onto public transport, waiting for her master while he shopped, finding a free seat in a café or pus, and picking up and fetching a fallen object, etc.
At the start of May, during the organisation’s seminar in Smiltene, Serena and I passed the guide dog exam under the supervision of a trainer from Finland, who used the very latest guide assessment standards developed in Finland.

Serena un Aleksejs. Lācītis

In this assessment, we received 275 points out of 300 (a minimum of 210 points are required to pass the test)! This was a good result! We were both very happy and proud. Now we can enjoy public life, travel on public transport without a dog’s muzzle, go shopping, visit cafés, theatres and concerts. Together with Serena, I’m once again enjoying an active life and this is great!
A sunny and fond thank you to everyone who supported us with donations, words of encouragement, good thoughts and deeds!
Aleksejs Volkovs, July 2018

Serena un Aleksejs nāk