The gardeners on Woodland Avenue like to get started early, and on this particular morning their leaf blowers are loud enough to send the average household pet into a frenzy.
But eight-month-old Walter does little more than perk his ears up and survey the scene through a screened window before returning to a chewed-up doggie toy.
The controlled behavior was learned during months of intensive training under the Guide Dogs of America puppy program, meant to prepare the animals for their eventual careers as guides for the blind.
“It is amazing to see how they grow and progress and change,” said Nicole Abranian, who is helping to train Walter with her mother, long-time Verdugo Woodlands Elementary School teacher Sheila Treston-Abranian.
It is a commitment that the dog-loving family embraced two years ago, not long after the deaths of their own pets.