From puppy to working guide dog - Lana’s journey

Trainers & Therapists

Trainers & Therapists

Just like with children, raising a puppy for a life of service as a guide dog takes a village.


Two women kneeling on the ground next to a black Guide Dog.

And for each person who has played a role in seeing a puppy grow into a mature and responsible guide dog, there is no prouder moment than graduation when they take the first steps into their lifelong role. 

For a group of South Australians, that moment took place at the recent See Differently Guide Dog graduation, where nine dogs – Lana, Leisel, Maple, Morris, Maddi, Nimble, Oxford, Pia, and Vesper – began their journey of service.

Amidst the celebrations, two special attendees, Mandy and Peter Temple, proudly watched black labrador Lana take the stage, who they had lovingly raised as a puppy volunteer.

Mandy, who had worked with See Differently as an optometrist, and her husband Peter are experienced volunteers, and Lana was their tenth See Differently puppy. 

“We called her Lana long-legs, because she never quite grew into them,” Mandy said.

“She is such a sweet, clever and mature girl – we knew she would go onto great things.”

A source of invaluable support has been the connections forged with other puppy volunteer families in their vicinity. Mandy said they formed their own guide dog puppy mother’s group to share their highs and lows. 

“I have made great friends through this process,” Mandy said.

“You do get this sense of comradeship because everyone in the same litter is doing the same thing or they have been through it before and know what it feels like.

“If it is raining and you are outside waiting for them to go or you are up in the middle of the night, I always think of all the other volunteers who are probably doing the same thing that I am.”

Lana enjoyed an active life with Mandy and Peter who took her along with them on all of their daily tasks, as well as holidays camping, where she enjoyed her own tent, and on a houseboat. 

These early adventures were recorded in a memory book, which was eventually passed onto Lana’s handler, Lisa Cundy. 

These early experiences prepared Lana perfectly for the busy life she is now living with Lisa. 

“We catch the bus, and the drivers and passengers are always really respectful,” Lisa said.

“I work at the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission, and they have given me a desk in a spot in the office where she will be most comfortable.

“Together, we also go to the supermarket to get some essentials and she comes to pilates with me three times a week.”

“She has also come with me to Adelaide Oval and we flew together to Melbourne and went to the Australian Open. We recently visited Canberra with some friends.”

Away from work, there is plenty of time for Lana to relax in her new home.

“She is still young so she is still a big puppy at heart and loves play time,” Lisa said.

“She has so many toys and she knows the difference between inside and outside toys, and if someone is over, we will take Lana to the park across the road for a good play.”

“My daughter is away at the moment, so she has been the best company around the house.”

Lisa said Lana has helped her rediscover her independence.

“It is difficult to explain how much Lana has changed my life and how much I appreciate the trainers and puppy volunteers,” Lisa said.

“I’ve had a labrador puppy and know how much hard work they can be, so for people like Mandy and Peter who give their time, I appreciate everything they have done.”

Lisa was excited to meet Mandy for the first time at the graduation and let her know how profoundly Lana had changed her life.

“I couldn’t wait to show them how far Lana has come and to say thank you to them,” Lisa said.

“She was such a big part of Lana’s life and how she has become the amazing support that she is.

“Lana changed my life, and I have Mandy and so many others to thank for that.”

You can follow the adventures of Lisa and Lana on Instagram at @lana_seedifferently

For more information about how you can become a guide dog volunteer, please click here.