Paws for a Cause

by Veronica Martinez
3 minutes read

Elisa Alonso and Norte are leading the way for paws-itive impact.

This month’s Feel Good Friday spotlight shines on Elisa Alonso, a remarkable co-worker in Madrid whose heartfelt dedication is transforming lives. Elisa, who is part of the cloud marketing team in Europe, is fostering an adorable puppy named Norte, who is on the path to becoming a guide dog for someone with visual impairments.  

At just two months old, Norte found a loving home with Elisa and her family. Introduced to Fundación ONCE del Perro Guía by a friend, Elisa embraced the challenge of raising Norte to fulfill this important job, knowing the profound impact it would have on someone’s life. Despite the unique training and demanding tasks – and all of the food, “because they eat a lot,” Elisa adds – her commitment to Norte never wavered.  

The Fundacion Once del Perro Guia (FOPG) is dedicated to breeding and training guide dogs for individuals who are blind or have severe visual impairments, aiming to enhance their independence and safety, Additionally, as a member of the International Guide Dog Federation, FOPG advocates for guide dog users’ rights and offers continuous support and educational resources on guide dog utilization.  

As a mother of two, Elisa was thrilled to open her home to Norte, and soon she realized how rewarding of an experience fostering Norte would be not only to her, but to her children, as well. “There are several motivators that led us to become a foster family… The first is responsibility,” Elisa shared. Watching her children bond with Norte while learning the essentials of dog care has been both rewarding and educational. “The second is independence and inclusion… I value the idea of helping others achieve independence. Guiding someone with visual impairments allows them to navigate the world with more freedom and confidence,” Elisa explains.  

As Norte’s foster mom, Elisa dedicates a lot of time and energy into helping Norte learn how to be the best guide dog he can be. This includes taking regular vet appointments, socializing him in public, and enhancing his mobility and training. One of Elisa’s most cherished memories with Norte was during an encounter with a woman who was visually impaired. While enjoying lunch at a restaurant, the woman approached Elisa and Norte with a warm appreciation for the work she was doing as a host family. Elisa recalls that the woman “had been waiting for a guide dog since 2018. So, this was something that reinforced our family’s mission and Norte’s future role.” 

Although Norte still has a few months left with Elisa, the impending farewell is bittersweet. Elisa finds solace in knowing that the time and love she has invested in Norte will profoundly change someone’s world. Elisa’s journey with Norte is a testament to the power of kindness, dedication, and the incredible bond between humans and animals. Happy Friday!  

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