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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Blind & Visually Impaired Centers, Disabilities, Dogs, Eye Diseases, Blindness & Vision Impairments, Health, Human Services, Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: Southeastern Guide Dogs transforms lives by creating and nurturing extraordinary partnerships between people and dogs. Our organization operates the most advanced training facilities of any service dog organization in the world. Our experts breed, raise, and train elite working dogs—including guide dogs, service dogs, and skilled companion dogs—and provide life-changing services for people with vision loss, veterans with disabilities, and children with significant challenges such as vision loss or the loss of a parent in the military. Pursuing our mission since 1982, Southeastern Guide Dogs now has over 1,200 dogs under our auspices. All of our services—which include selective breeding and expert dog training; comprehensive on-campus student instruction; and the most robust alumni support program in North America—are provided at no cost to recipients. We rely 100% on private donations. Southeastern Guide Dogs has the distinction of being dually accredited by the two premier, global accreditation bodies: the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International. Learn more at www.GuideDogs.org.

Target demographics: People with visual impairments, veterans with disabilities, and children with significant challenges such as vision loss or loss of a parent in the military.

Direct beneficiaries per year: In fiscal year 2020, we supported 585 active teams who gave us a 99.6% student satisfaction rating. We placed 54 guide dogs with people with vision loss and 31 dogs into careers benefitting veterans. We placed 11 skilled companion dogs with children with vision loss, and placed 17 dogs into public service for further scent detection training.

Geographic areas served: The continental U.S. and Alaska

Programs: Southeastern Guide Dogs transforms lives by creating and nurturing extraordinary partnerships between people and dogs. Our organization employs some of the most talented and innovative scientists and trainers in the working-dog industry and operates the most advanced training facilities of any service dog organization in the world. Our experts train guide dogs, service dogs, and skilled companion dogs for people with visual impairments, veterans with disabilities, and children with significant challenges such as vision loss or loss of a parent in the military. All of Southeastern Guide Dogs’ services—which include selective breeding and expert dog training and conditioning; comprehensive on-campus student instruction; and lifetime alumni support—are provided at no cost to the recipients. We rely 100 percent on private donations. Southeastern Guide Dogs has the distinction of being dually accredited by the two premier, global accreditation bodies: the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International. Learn more at www.GuideDogs.org.

Community Stories

293 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Pip D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been a part of the program only a year and I can already say they do amazing work. So much passion and energy goes into bringing these dogs to people that need them

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have been volunteering as puppy raisers for SEGD for over 4 years and are now raising our 3rd guide dog. The best thing about SEGD is the fact that they do not charge the recipient anything for a fully well trained guide dog. They also cover all the vet bills and food for the life of the dog. I am proud to be a part of this well oiled machine !

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a two-time puppy raiser and avid supporter. My introduction to SEGD was at a graduation. After hearing all of the graduates talk about getting their dog and how much it changed their life, I had to find out more. I became involved and I was, and still am, amazed at what they do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Southeastern is a great organization that is run by some of the most caring and amazing people! The staff and volunteers are so involved and have created a great community that shares a bond over our love for animals and of course helping these awesome puppies become super heroes!

Alona F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Southeastern Guide Dogs is an absolutely fantastic organization. I have been a volunteer puppy sitter for nearly two years, and have now been a puppy raiser for six months. Throughout my journey in raising a future service dog, the organization has been extremely helpful and supportive in providing educational materials, specific training feedback, and support when I need it. The dogs that come out of Southeastern Guide Dogs' programs are top level, professional working dogs that change and save lives every day. Pictured is Jello, the one-year-old female black goldador and future Southeastern superhero that I am raising.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began this year puppy raising and have been so blessed to get to know such wonderful people and dogs affiliated with an amazing guide dog school. The school has overcame many obstacles associated with Covid 19. SEGD has preservered and continued helping those in need of independence and hope by providing exceptional dogs. I am so proud and honored to be a part of a great organization.

TNT1236

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is TOP NOTCH. Been volunteering with them for many years in many areas , on campus , breeder hosting , puppy raising , puppy camping etc . The care that is shown to all is above and beyond . The heartwarming graduations and continued connections is one that lasts a lifetime. SouthEastern Guide Dogs Cares !

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband Terry and I have been involved in many areas of SEGD -we are so happy we are. Friendships have been formed and are ever lasting. The pups that we have had pass thru our lives have been a blessing. We are helping to change the lives of deserving individuals. Makes my heart so happy to be able to do this. Most recently we raised a pup who is IFT right now and at the present we are finishing another pup who will go in for formal training at the end of October. We also have a retired breeder at home who we love to follow along on his legacy. SEGD changes lives one pup at a time.

Jeanette P.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great organization. We have been puppy sitters for almost a year and have met some amazing puppies, puppy raisers and trainers. It is heart warming to see the difference these dogs make in people's lives.

Leslie J. R.

Donor

Rating: 5

As an employee of Southeastern Guide Dogs for many years, I can attest to the integrity and trustworthiness of the organization. The leadership in place has a passion to help people, to help dogs find their best unique place, and to pursue the mission with excellence. Because of this trust and because of the mission, I decided to support Southeastern Guide Dogs through the wonderful Sponsor a Puppy program, which became the perfect gift for a loved one. Who wouldn't love following a puppy's journey as they grow up to become a guide dog? My brother loves it!

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

True story - I work at Southeastern Guide Dogs and one of my roles is to interview each person with their new dog and then write a short bio about each one. These bios are provided to the puppy raiser and the sponsor of the dog, to let them know of the difference their dog makes.
I've heard so many heart-wrenching stories of vision loss and the accompanying loss of freedom--no more drivers license; no more ability to look into a child or grandchild's eyes; and a loss of hope and confidence. I've spoken to veterans with PTSD who can't seem to forget the memories of Afghanistan, Iraq, and even Vietnam.

And then they get their dogs--their guide dogs and service dogs--and everything changes. Their shoulders lift; they sleep through the night; and they travel and go and do and be and LIVE.

As a female, I make sure to wear waterproof mascara before interviewing them, because often when they begin to get teary and misty, I can't help but cry myself. Good tears. Tears of amazement and hope and renewed expectancy and confidence.

It is an absolute privilege to see the incredible transformations and the difference a dog makes. Here at Southeastern Guide Dogs, it's often said that we transform lives, one dog at a time.

Truth.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I’m so thankful for Southeastern Guide Dogs and the independence and confidence that they have brought back to my life! With Luna leading my way, I know that my future is bright!

Karen H.21

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am thrilled to have found Southeast Guide Dog to volunteer at. This organization truly is awesome. Everything is so well done here. From breeding and raising them to training these magnificent animals for visually impaired people and service men and women who need that someone special in their lives.
I am one proud volunteer!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I lost my vision about a 1.5 years ago and during my O&M training it was suggested that I would benefit from a Guide Dog. I had looked at multiple schools and from first phone call Southeastern Guide Dogs was a cut above the rest. From initial application through to completion of my training on campus, I really did not have one complaint. The dog I was paired with is beyond amazing. She is brilliant! My first full day home we went for a walk at Universal City Walk and it was amazing. I got to enjoy the afternoon without looking down or being stressed about who (or what) I was going to bump into. Today is my first day back at work with my Guide Dog and the morning has been beyond expectations. No more running my fingers along the wall or counting steps. Thankful for the ongoing support I have through Southeastern Guide Dogs as well. They are never more than a phone call away. The words thank you just isn't enough.

Curt N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As someone who's been around the military for my professional career and supporting those who serve, I developed a keen awareness of their sacrifice and how important it is that we take care of those who've made the sacrifice for our nation particularly those that now need extra help in their daily lives. The value of a dog in the life of a person who needs that extra help, whether they be visually impaired, a veteran, or someone who just needs the emotional support, is life changing. I joined Southeastern Guide Dogs because of their mission to support this community and my love for dogs (yes, I'm a life long Labrador owner). It my time volunteering, I've seen the singular dedication to mission of the professional staff and volunteers to support this community. To see and hear the stories the graduating classes and what their new four legged best friend means to them is humbling. I always walk away thinking we have to grow this organization, there are more people who need this support!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Southeastern Guide Dogs for over a year, and I really enjoy interacting with the staff and other visitors while driving the shuttle around the campus. Southeastern Guide Dogs is the best place to volunteer. If I lived closer, I would volunteer more than I currently do. The staff has such passion for their jobs and their mission for training and providing dogs to the visually impaired and to Military Veterans. I highly recommend that you apply to volunteer and/or financially support Southeastern Guide Dogs. You will not regret your decision. Chuck Bishop

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I cannot speak highly enough about this organization that helps vets like myself that have PTSD to obtain a service dog. My two trainers were the greatest. They took their time to help me through with all the necessary commands i had to learn to graduate. My service dog named “SAL” is a great comfort to me already and i only had him for 2 weeks. We both have bonded together right away. Its like we been together for years. I want to thank Southeastern Guide Dogs Inc. And all the sponsors, donors and everyone else that make all this possible for us vets. GOD BLESS to all of you.

1 Toni V.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family has been involved with Southeastern Guide Dogs for two years now. We are currently raising our 2nd puppy for the school which has been so rewarding! Additionally, I have volunteered in the Canine University (a.k.a. Training Kennel) for over a year and I love spending time with the dogs and staff on Saturday mornings. My mom is also involved and after volunteering in the Puppy Kennel for several months she moved up into a Puppy Educator role. She loves working with pups from 7-12 weeks of age introducing them to new things! And who doesn't LOVE to play with puppies?!?!?

We are not only weekly volunteers and current puppy raisers, but also Cornerstone Society members as well. Please consider volunteering in some capacity for this organization! Our continued volunteer support allows them to place extraordinarily trained Guide and Service dogs to those in need at NO COST and NO government funding.

2 Terry G.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough great things about SEGD. I am a disabled veteran with PTSD and physical issues. The service dog trainers at SEGD picked a beautiful Goldador named Sasha as my new battle buddy, I could not be happier and she starting changing my life from the day I met her 20 days ago. The service dog trainers are amazing, extremely knowledgeable, caring, loving and become your newest best friends by the time the class is over. The facilities are way modern, clean and beyond ecxpectations. The Chefs are great, friendly and the food is amazing. The entire staff and volunteers are great. This is a fantastic organization that cares about veterans and want to help. I have been so blessed to have them in my life and providing me with the best new battle buddy in the world.

Thank you for everything,

Terry Greenfeder


Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently started working at Southeastern Guide Dogs in the puppy kindergarten area and have been so impressed with this organization. What a wonderful group of staff members and volunteers; such a positive environment. Everyday is enjoyable, I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to volunteer in an awesome setting, raising dogs to become future heroes.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Southeastern Guide Dogs is truly a world class state of the art training facility for both Guide dogs and Service dogs. The campus is well maintained. My first impression upon arriving there put me in awe. The campus buildings are recently built and you feel as though you are on a college campus for humans. This place breeds their own service dogs and has a research lab on site that helps detect defects in canine dna so that healthy Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers can be born. Students get to stay in their state of art dorm rooms which is equipped with its on mini fridge, Amazon
Alexa, full bathroom, flat screen TV, closet and Central Air. Each room has its own patio with and an astroturf area for your service dog to use to go to the bathroom. School provides students with 3 free meals a day from its onsite full industrial kitchen that staffs cooks with great culinary talent. This organization is non profit, ADI accredited school. They rely solely on private donations and do not take any government funds. If your looking for a service animal school that is top notch, Southeastern Guide Dogs is definitely it!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Southeastern Guide Dogs for three years now serving in various areas of the campus including being on the Volunteer Advisory Committee. While I was working, I served on a number of non-profit boards none of which ran their organizations like this one. SEGD is second to none in how they support, communicate, educate and show genuine appreciation to their volunteers. The staff never makes you feel like you are getting in their way. Rather, they recognize how much value we contribute to the organization not to mention how much money we save them in payroll and benefits. All of us support each other never taking our eye off the overall mission of training world-class dogs that support the vision impaired and our veterans with disabilities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Excellent organization to volunteer for in many diverse roles that provide assistance for the puppies and young adult dogs along with the students. A great opportunity for expanding your education on service and guide dog training and hands on experience that helps so many. First rate campus and staff and highly recommend to volunteers searching for a good fit.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great organization pursuing a great mission. The organization offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities, all supported by an exceptional staff. Volunteers are truly appreciated, and volunteers feel they contributed to the successful match between Guide/Service dog and its handler. So lucky to live close by so I can volunteer on campus.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Top notch organization providing independence for those who are visually impaired and those in the military (active and retired). The volunteers are offered various volunteer opportunities throughout the campus, allowing us to be an integral part of their mission. Training is also provided to the volunteers on a regular basis. Volunteers are greatly appreciated and paid in lots of puppy love. I feel strongly that my volunteering responsibilities contribute to the making of a SEGD superhero!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Last month I was lucky enough to graduate from Southeastern Guide Dogs with my new guide. This is a top notch facility. There truly are not enough words to explain the magnitude of the gift this school has given me. I ask you, what price can you put on your independence? Southeastern provides all their services absolutely free of charge. The facility itself is gorgeous. The staff is the kindest you will find anywhere. They put the welfare of their dogs and their students before anything else. The three weeks I spent at the school changed my life. My new guide has given me the confidence to walk out my front door unafraid for the first time in 10 years. If you are someone in need of a guide dog, do not hesitate to apply to this school. If you are a donor, puppy raiser or sponsor, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your gift has changed my life.

cathyglen

Volunteer

Rating: 5

An amazing organization! I've volunteered at many non-profits throughout my life, and Southeastern Guide Dogs is truly inspiring. They not only educate and train their guide dogs and service dogs and students but they also educate and train their volunteers! The staff works diligently to find the perfect fit for every volunteer.

Bravos to the staff!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful ! This is an organization that is always striving to educate their employees and volunteers with the latest innovations. Their goal is to change someone's life by providing a trained dog to give more independence.... whether a guide dog or a veteran service dog for PTSD.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came to know Southeastern Guide Dogs from living nearby at Tree Lakes RV and resort in Palmetto Florida. Our senior park is a big supporter. I have attended many of the dog walks in Bradenton and last year the park earned the right to name a puppy. I am now 82 years old and needed to find something to keep me occupied. A friend suggested Southeastern Guide Dogs and said they might need volunteers. Well I found out they did, i applied, was accepted and have been working about a month. I was blown away at how large they have grown and how how many volunteers there are along with professional workers. I am thrilled to be a part of the team and be able to give to so many in need. The organization is amazing and I am learning how much it takes to bring the puppy to being a Super Guide Dog. The staff have been great and helped me to become comfortable in my duties. It has given me value to my life and amazing life to those we have helped. I am looking forward to my continued journey.

Deborah Pfaelzer I.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They say that Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth but I respectfully disagree and think that Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc. is the happiest place in the Universe! I've been a volunteer for a little over 5 years and love every minute of my time spent on campus! Everyone is amazing and the dogs never cease to bring a smile to my face. This place truly changes lives and I am grateful to be able to help make a difference in people's lives.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc. truly changes people's lives! I have been volunteering there for over 3 years and witness the gift we give to the blind and PTSD sufferers on a weekly basis! It makes my heart sing to be a part of such a wonderful organization!

Laura Steven S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with SEGD for the last year and a half and they are truly an amazing organization. I've worked with them as a puppy raiser, breeder hoast and campus volunteer. Everyone is so incredible to work with! Always so knowledgable and very supportive. Truly blessed to have them in our local area!

1 Jan A.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a SEGD volunteer and puppy sitter I whole heartedly endorse Southeastern Guide Dogs and their mission to place expertly trained dogs in the lives of people who need the help a dog has to offer. They really do change people’s lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is just a wonderful, positive place! Happy dogs - happy people! As a volunteer I feel grateful to be part of this organization. It is very well-run by people who really care. There is a genuine passion here!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I volunteer at Southeastern Guide Dogs on their campus. I am so proud to be part of their mission. Every puppy and dog are so well taken care of and every staff member/trainer and volunteer take their roles seriously. The dogs are loved dearly and placed with their “forever person” with the utmost care.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Outstanding program for the recipients and everyone involved in making it happen. The facility is top notch, volunteer program is extremely well run, the facilities are clean, and the dog training is thoughtful consistant and geared towards the dogs comfort and happiness. I can't say enough about South Eastern Guide Dogs. You must see it for yourself. Once you go you will want to be involved.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Southeastern Guide Dogs for over five wonderful years. One morning a week I work at Canine University with three wonderful ladies and we are proud to be known as the "super-duper cleaning quartet"! I also help with set-up, clean-up and serving at both the Puppy Raiser Brunch, where visually impaired students get to meet the people who raised their new canine companion and the Veterans' dinner, where veterans with PTSD meet the people that raised their service dog. It is very heartwarming and rewarding to witness the bond that has already formed between the students and their new partners and to see the love still shared between the dogs and their puppy raisers. I also work with my husband (Joe Ligi) weeding and keeping all the gardens in good order! All my hard work is rewarded when I go to the Puppy Academy and to bathe puppies! I love every minute of those mornings! I love seeing the puppies as they grow and then go to their puppy raiser for a year, but the best reward is when I see them come back a year later as grown dogs in Canine University. The love and devotion shown to the puppies and dogs by the employees and volunteers is something that has to be witnessed firsthand. There are always lots of smiles from happy employees and volunteers and joyous tail wagging from the puppies and dogs at Southeastern Guide Dogs. I think it is a testament to the reputation, operation and successes of SEGD's that with their continual growth and expansion, many of the new and planned buildings are fully funded by generous contributions BEFORE a footing is poured! It is truly a non-profit that deserves recognition for their continued contributions to so many facets of society.

Sandra W.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am close to retiring and was looking for volunteer work to fill my time. I'd seen Southeast Guide Dog volunteers at stores from time to time and chatted with them one day, then decided to take a closer look. I toured the facility (amazing - like a college campus!), attended several meetings to get a good feel for what was required, and it was clear how dedicated all the staff and volunteers were. I signed up to be a Puppy Raiser, and am absolutely thrilled with my decision. It's a lot of work and love, but so worth it, and the organization has incredible support for Puppy Raisers!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer and board member of several nonprofits over the years, I have been most impressed with Southeastern Guide Dogs. I currently volunteer with SEGD in many capacities, both on campus and as a puppy raiser. Their commitment to their mission, staff, volunteers, dogs and students is exceptional.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined for the opportunity to raise a puppy, and stay to continue the mission and for the friends I have made along the way. I like that the departments continue to do research and advance how we can raise service dogs better or quicker. I’m also amazed at the countless volunteers! As a puppy raiser, I meet people all the time who say how much they love Southeastern, or ask how they can be involved. I contribute with time and financials and believe both are well spent. The Instagram feeds @seguidedogs and @guidedogtrainers are just one window into the day to day activities. The feel Good Friday you Tube videos also are great representations of how this not for profit works. And the best part...the dogs are free to those who need them and come with support while they are in service!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first was introduced to Southeastern in mid-1987 & was very impressed. The school was very young then with huge potential. Having worn eyeglasses since childhood and with a intense love for dogs, I recognized a common ground & immediately wanted to become involved. But for work-related reasons, that involvement didn't come for several years.

Fast forward to October 2019 - my 11th year volunteering for Southeastern. I began my journey as a puppy raiser. What a rewarding experience! Since then, I've had the opportunity to volunteer in several other areas - assisting in the early education of our puppies, working at the front desk in our Student Center, conducting tours on our 33-acre campus, helping out with public events and fundraising for the annual Walkathon and sponsoring/naming five puppies. I adopted my beautiful black Lab, Lindy, from Southeastern and she & I became part of the Ambassador program. As an Ambassador team we represented Southeastern both on and off campus, participating in events, speaking engagements and visiting schools, nursing homes and hospitals.

Without question, Southeastern Guide Dogs is in a nonprofit class by itself...World Class! From the dedicated, forward-thinking Board of Directors, the creative , hard-working staff and the hundreds of selfless volunteers across several states, this organization is simply top notch. And from my point of view...the appreciation for what I contribute to the overall success of Southeastern is demonstrated constantly from the top down. An admirable attribute not commonly found in many organizations today.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I first came to the SEGD campus in 1984. We were visiting family and we came to see and interact with the puppies. At that time the “campus” consisted of one building and some walking paths. The role of the visitor was to walk and groom a puppy or older dog to help with socializing, a very important part of their training.
In 200 we moved to the Tampa area from Iowa and began a new chapter in our journey. Last fall we saw a news story about SEGD and decided to run down and check it out as we had not been there since our first visit in 1984. Needless to say, we were blown away by the transformation from a single to building to a true campus. We were so impressed and inspired that we immediately made a donation while we were there.
Because of our donation we were contacted by the organization and invited to a private tour of the entire facility. We were absolutely in awe of everything they have accomplished and the wonderful work that is done to transform people lives. All by donation, no government funding. We’ve been invited to a few recipient graduations and an event showcasing the work and support that is given to our precious war veterans and their families.
When I retired earlier this year I already knew I wanted to give even more and signed up to become a volunteer. I was worried it would take a while to get in,but, to my surprise I was able to start right away. Best decision I ever made. The entire staff, from HR to canine techs have been wonderful to work with and are so grateful for all the help they receive from the volunteers.
I love this opportunity to spread the work about this amazing notforprofit organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering on the Southeastern Guide Dog Campus for five years and have worked in a myriad of different roles all over the campus. I have observed this campus go through an absolutely remarkable transformation physically, while simultaneously maintaining a high level of of canine care and training for our dogs. The new facilities allowed the team at SEGD take everything they do to a new level. Even to the point of other facilities to come to our campus and observe. That in itself is a huge compliment.

Our CEO Titus Herman set out a vision and a plan to be the best facility of it's kind in the world. It is a vision shared by all of the Volunteers and Employees. This amazing vision and leadership has all been achieved through donations from some very caring, generous people, and corporations. This out pouring of generosity has allowed us to update thirty year old buildings that were bursting at the seams. To give us a state of the art facility. In my humble opinion even with all of the help, it could not have be achieved without fiscal responsibility. The entire management team and Board members shepherd the dollars they are given with upmost fiscal responsibility.

We expanded our service dog training to include our outstanding military veterans who now suffer PTSD. I volunteer in this program and have personally seen the end result of everyones efforts on the campus. At the end of one training exercise a young man walked up to me shook my hand and said, " I wanted to personally thank you. " I thanked him for his service and sacrifice. He said, "you don't seem to understand, two weeks ago I never thought I would see the inside a mall again in my life now I am standing here with you in front of Macy's."

There are a lot of charity's one can give money to. As you contemplate this decision I encourage you to look at the videos on our website. Visit our campus for a personal tour we are open and transparent and see what we do.

We transform lives and give people an enhanced and a new beginning in life. I could not be any happier knowing that I am just one cog in a wheel that helps Southeaster Guide Dogs accomplish their goals and aspirations.

Alan Skulsky
Campus Volunteer

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer puppy raiser with Southeastern Guide Dogs for 10+ years (I am currently raising my 10th puppy). I was looking for a way to fill some free time but wanted it to be purposeful. I saw another puppy raiser out and about with their puppy wearing Southeastern Guide Dog's dintinctive blue coat and I knew I had my answer. The school provides us puppy raisers with all the help and support we need to turn in happy, well socialized puppies who are ready to move on to the next phase of their training. It is a wonderful feeling to know that I am helping change someone's life and having fun in the process! I highly recommend Southeastern Guide Dogs to anyone looking for a place to donate time, resources or money!

Donna N.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

From the moment I stumbled across their website and started my journey as a volunteer, I have had nothing but magical experiences. Each person I meet on campus, each future superhero I work with, every department I interact with, come together seamlessly in this shared vision and focused effort. Everything they do “pays it forward”, in a never ending miracle. And the work I do in the Puppy Nursery is a most precious labor of love and always the highlight of my week!

Joel F.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a Disabled Veteran, and Volunteer at Southeastern Guide Dogs. I have worked as a photographer, Training Center helper, and occasionally bring a dog home for the weekend. I have seen the employees working with the dogs, and the new Handlers. They could not be better, at what they do for the blind and those with PTSD. The stories, I have heard, from the graduate handlers are amazing, and life changing. I give Southeastern Guide Dogs 5 Gold Stars-plus!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A chance drive past a highway billboard 3 years ago when I moved to Florida, has given me the most meaningful volunteer experience I could ever imagine, as well as a sense of belonging to a most exceptional family of skilled professionals who are passionate about the organization's mission, and who do more and more each day to enhance the quality of experience for every person affiliated with them. They exceed all the standards of excellence they strive for, and bring hope, independence and confidence to deserving individuals, day after day. They deserve continuing support from the entire community.

Tammy Farrow A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After taking a tour of Southeastern's Palmetto Campus in 2015, I knew I had to become a part of this amazing organization. It has been the best experience and I am proud to be a part of Southeastern's family. Their dogs touch the lives of everyone they interact with from volunteers, puppy raisers, students, and people in the community. It changed my life when my husband and I become breeder hosts to Murphy in 2018. Southeastern not only accomplishes it mission but exceeds it every single day.

Ellen V.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

From the moment I arrived at the Southeastern Guide Dog campus, everyone was extremely friendly and helpful. The staff and the trainers were always asking if they could do more.I found the facilities on campus amazing and first class. The trainers at Southeast Guide Dogs were absolutely top notch in the way they were able to assess each student and match the perfect dog to their needs. It was not until I arrived home that I realized how well Southeast Guide Dogs had prepared me and my new best friend,Ella, to navigate the world beyond my own front door.

1 Scott R.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Omg what can I say, In the first week of training and I can already see how my dog Bowen will improve my life, he keeps me calm helps me get around, knows when I am hurting and distracts my mind, no Better Program for vets

Client Served

Rating: 5

The staff here were awesome. Everyone was so accommodating and willing to work with us students. My time at the school was outstanding. Staff and trainers answered all of my questions whenever I had them, and the amenities were awesome as well. The beds were comfortable, and the rooms were spacious. Not to mention, our dogs had their own little yards which I thought was quite neat. The food was also delicious. The chef did an outstanding job.

I would definitely come back to this school when I need to get another dog once my retires. I will recommend this school to others, too.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If you want to get away from the negative and experience the positive come visit Southeastern Guide Dogs. As a new volunteer I am just blown away by all that goes into the making of these wonderful "hero" dogs and all by donation only. The staff, volunteers and trainers all work together with the goal of giving these dogs the very best care, training, affection and love so they can be a life changer for someone in need. I feel very lucky to be a part of it all!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering with SEGD in November of 2018. It has changed my life. As someone who has worked with and for non profits for many years, I have to say this is the most professional organization I have ever worked with. There is a very large number of volunteers- 350+ - and the communication, the opportunities and the training is like no other. We are routinely recognized for our contribution, no matter how small. We are invited to lectures that are outstanding, not just about the organization itself, but by those who have benefited from it. The staff at every level are extremely dedicated and supportive. I hope that anyone who loves dogs, appreciates the struggles of the sight impaired and the service of our many veterans, with get involved. If you can’t, then donate. This fine organization relies solely on donations from the public and businesses to sustain its core mission. And they are doing that better than any non profit I have ever been involved with or supported. If you can help in any way, I hope you will. Melissa Twomey

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After attending "Making of a Super Hero" last year and learning about the mission of Southeastern Guide Dogs, I was waiting to join this wonderful organization as a volunteer. This is one of the best organizations I have ever worked with or volunteered at. The full time staff is great, is dedicated to the dogs and appreciates the volunteers. They truly care. As a volunteer we are able to help them with caring for the dogs at different stages in their growth and training from birth to graduation. No matter what your contribution, you feel like you are helping the recipient of these amazing dogs to live a better life.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Southeastern Guide Dogs is a very unique and special organization that provides service dogs to the blind as well as Veterans. This is the ONLY not-for-profit that I've ever worked for or with that does not accept any federal, government or grant funding. All the funds received are donations. To my understanding, not one single building on this magnificent campus is built without having the funds in hand prior to start of construction. That's amazing!
As a volunteer I get the privilege of providing help to allow the staff members to do more than they normally would be able to do. The campus is meticulous and the staff always has a smile for anyone even on the toughest of days. (We often hear that the floors are so clean you could eat off of them!) Each and every volunteer gets knows with confidence that their efforts are greatly appreciated. With over 300 volunteers, we take pride in knowing how much money we've saved SEGD so that the funds can be directed toward the recipients.
From driving golf carts, helping in the kitchen, being a Breeder Dog Host to a Puppy Raiser, we each take great pride in the gift of our efforts.
Thank you Southeastern Guide Dogs for letting me be part of that contribution!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

5 star organization from top to bottom. Could not of asked more on my stay with them getting my hero Lee.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been visually impaired or legally blind since birth. But with age comes lower vision and I was missing curbs which was causing me to take some nasty tumbles. II had also gotten quite depressed because I was unable to find a job due to my limited mobility. My wife was concerned and suggested that I might want to look into getting a guide dog. After much research, we decided that Southeaster Guide Dogs would be the best school for me to attend.

Going to Southeastern and getting my first guide dog, Keni was the second best decision I have ever made (the first was marrying my wife). Since graduation two years ago I have improved mobility, been able to find a job that I could not have previously done without Keni's help and I have a lot more self confidence. I am beyond thankful that a place as wonderful as Southeastern Guide Dogs exists and I'm so thankful that they gave me a sweet, furry friend who helps me so much and brings so many smiles every day.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It all started when I attended a Southeastern Guide Dogs presentation the Creation of a Superheroes in 2016, this organization stole my heart. The positive energy that flows in and around this organization pulls you in to be involved in making a difference in the lives of those individuals in need of a guide dogs or service dogs. The mission statement guides the organization which is evident with each staff member you meet and work with on campus. The staff goes above and beyond to help and educate volunteers in every area of the campus, working with loving dogs is the best of the best. When you are invited to attend a graduation ceremony this is a volunteers dream comed true, as the journey ends at the campus it really is the new beginning for graduate and guide dog. We are a non-profit, funded by private donations so that those in need receive the best guide and service dogs. So Southeastern Guide Dogs is a place in Palmetto, Florida to request a visit and your heart will be stolen too.

Dana A.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I work with puppies at Southeastern Guide Dogs. The love and attention I give to them is returned to me tenfold. Knowing these precious pups will go on to enhance the lives of those in need is so heartwarming. It is truly a labor of love.The staff at SEGD are so kind and appreciative. I feel blessed to be a part of this organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for Southeastern Guide Dogs for three years. From picking up "poo" to manning the front desk I've had nothing but warm feelings for this organization. I have learned about most aspects of the work done with the dogs to train them to the point of knowing 40 commands to help legally blind human being. I have seen the results, listened to the deeply felt experiences of those who are and have been helped including returning military personnel. It is amazing what this organization accomplishes and all provided gratis without any government contributions. I am so proud that I have been given the opportunity to do what I can to help Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Privileged to give some of my time to this wonderful non profit!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I’d like to take the time to tell my story of how
Southeastern Guide Dogs saved my life by giving me my
best friend, Hooch. Unlike most best friends, mine
is covered in fur, has a tail that wags like a top notch
propeller, and instead of a handshake he prefers licking
my face until it appears as if I just came out of the shower.
I know that description doesn’t sound appealing to most,
but in my opinion it’s perfect and I wouldn’t have it any
other way.

When I was 17 I joined the U.S. Marines and
deployed to the Sangin district of Afghanistan for 10
months. As a 20/21 year old in combat, the experiences
and actions that were made, had to be done to ensure the
safety and survival of myself, and my brothers that were
with me during it all. I saw and did things that I’d never
imagine, that I never knew existed, and that I’d never be
able to forget. But this isn’t about those experiences and is
not a therapy session. This is about my recovery and the
goldador who made such a thing possible for me.
Following deployment I began to realize that I wasn’t
right. Nothing was right, but I tried to force myself to act
like it was. My life has never plummeted like it did after
Afghanistan. I walked around with a fake smile and a
source of alcohol and drugs at all times thinking that was
normal. I called it a “coping mechanism”. For the record, if
you’re a 21 year old using drugs and alcohol to make you
seem normal like all of your chipper friends and then pre
meditating the end of your life with an optimistic feeling
towards the thought, then that is not a successful “coping
mechanism”. In denial of being clinically insane, and
wanting to avoid ridicule from the majority of the big bad
Marine Corps who say that mental illness after war is for
the weak, I sought treatment. Immediately, I was
diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury, and PTSD.
Before treatment began, I was transferred to Wounded
Warriors Battalion on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. First
step: Medication. Long story short, I am now 26 years old
and over the course of treatment I have been prescribed
to 46 different medications and a max of 15 a day. This
may remind you of a lab rat, or a guinea pig if you will.
With all of these medications, I still could not escape the
pain, guilt, regret, and hatred towards myself that I was
constantly feeling. So I took my self medicating to a new,
and more dangerous level. Drugs and alcohol became a
necessity for me to function in everyday life. I was an
empty vessel walking amongst people who I considered
an enemy, and a threat towards my life. By people, I mean
everyone; including my best friends, my mother who has
loved me unconditionally since the day she gave birth to
me, and my entire family. My brother John who is my idle
and inspiration for many things, wasn’t my brother in my
mind. He was another living life form, and possible target if
he were to approach me in any way I found aggressive.
As you can see, I was lost, sick, and absolutely out of my mind.

One day my physiologist suggested a service dog for
TBI, and PTSD. Something I have never heard of, nor did I
care or think it would help. Thankfully, it wasn’t up to me; it
was in the hands of the licensed physician who provided
me with the answer to my prayers, and the start to getting
my life back. After months of paperwork and going through
the eligibility process, I was approved for a Veteran
service dog provided by Southeastern Guide Dogs of
Palmetto, FL. March 15th was the day I traveled to the
guide dog organization to begin the two week class,
educating me about service dogs and how to command
and co exist with one for mutual benefits. The first day
upon arrival is when you meet the rest of your six student
class, and let the trainers get to know everything about
you. The good and the bad, but no dogs were provided
yet. Little did I know, March 16th would be the day that my
life would change forever. We were told to wait in our
rooms, which were provided on the campus of SEGD. I
hear the commotion in the hallways consisting of multiple
footsteps, and whatever was moving was moving with a
purpose. I now feel threatened and defense/survival
instincts snap into action. But when my door opened I
unexpectedly had to look down to see what this target/
threat was. I then looked into the eyes of a black Lab/
Retriever and suddenly felt absolutely no feeling of threat
or fear. I sat on the floor because I had to get closer to this
dog who was able to make me feel like I did before
Afghanistan, before the drugs and alcohol, when I was
simply just happy. My new best friend’s name was
“Hooch”. Perfect. Everything about him was, and still is,
perfect.

It’s been about 2 1/2 years now since Hooch and I
were paired but within days he started to change my life. I
began feeling happiness again, when I thought there was
no such thing. I reconnected with people, who I
considered a threat to me, only to know that they’ve cared
for me the entire time. I know Hooch won’t be alive forever
but, with tears in my eyes, what I can honestly say is that
he will always be with me, and I with him. I love him with
all my heart, and I owe him my life. A special thanks to
Southeastern Guide Dogs for saving my life by bringing
me together with, my best friend, Hooch.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a volunteer and donor to this exceptional organization. The care they show to their dogs, students, volunteer and employees is unlike anything I have experienced in many years of volunteering. No government funds are used and ALL dogs are provided free of charge - including continued follow up visits. It does not matter where in the US the student lives, SEGD will support them throughout their working relationship with their dog.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When my husband and I retired to Sarasota, Florida, I was thrilled to see a highway billboard announcing that Southeastern Guide Dogs was close by. We had raised three puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Syracuse and then Albany, New York, and I was excited to think about being a part of another organization that offered these magnificent dogs to visually impaired folks. It didn't take me long to visit Southeastern (had the puppy hugging experience) and signed up to volunteer. I soon learned that they also provided specially trained dogs for veterans dealing with PTSD in the Paws for Patriots program. That was 2010/2011. I've never experienced a more dedicated and enthusiastic staff and that transfers easily to their volunteers. Their mission, their professional approach to running Southeastern, their true appreciation of and for their many volunteers, are a few of the reasons why Southeastern is an outstanding nonprofit organization. The impact they have on so many individual lives, whether visually impaired or a Veteran in need of a service dog, is best seen and heard on their website. To say these testimonies are a moving tribute to the value of Southeastern's mission and impact, is an understatement. I am a personal friend of two people who are each a recipient of a Southeastern dog, one legally blind and the other a Veteran and I've had the up close privilege of seeing what these dogs mean to them. The emotional bond and the working partnership are amazing to see. I truly believe that the GreatNonProfits Top-Rated Award couldn't go to a more deserving service organization.

Aaron J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer puppy raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs for almost 2 years now. The main reason that I selected this nonprofit organization was because of all of the positive reviews they have received online. After I joined this group. I quickly saw first hand why they received all of these reviews and most importantly that all of them were true and not made up by people paid to post positive reviews. Every single staff member, and volunteer that I have had the pleasure to meet are truly friendly, but most importantly they are professional. All of these wonderful qualities displayed by them are all because every single one of them absolutely love their jobs, and know what a life changing experience all of the people who in the end receives one of our guide dogs will encounter.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Southeastern guide dogs has been part of my life since 2002 when I got my first guide dog. Since then the school has significantly upgraded its infrastructure and added a service animal program for veterans with PTSD. During this time they have retained their core mission of graduating competent and independent guide dog teams

We are proud to be apart of this organization as volunteers. Donors, and a guide dog user. Visit their website for some inspiring stories and live web cams of the puppy kennels

Attached is a photo of “nick” , Larry and Nick’s puppy raiser Carey

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am grateful everyday that I have had the opportunity to volunteer for SEGD for the last 4 years. The staff is very committed and passionate about what they do and they do an excellent job and just keep getting better. The guide and service dogs that they train change people's lives everyday. The dogs are amazing, smart, loving and dedicated to their "forever" person. There is not charge to an individual for a dog. As a volunteer I have received so much more than I have given. Working for a charity that is committed to excellence is wonderful experience. All you have to do is be around the dogs and the staff for a few minutes to understand why this is a charity of the highest excellence.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My life has opened up since I received Atlas, my amazing guide dog. Prior to Atlas I would take a daily walk in my community the walk was slow are careful; not a lot of cardio exercise. Now, we both go at a fast clip just like the sighted walkers. Atlas is there with me at all times and loved by all. I volunteer as a drug rehab counselor and with a bereavement group for Hospice. I'm not sure who makes the greatest impact with the participants, it might be Atlas. He is remarkable in what he has learned since Guide dog school: He can find a public trash can, restroom, stairs, he will locate the car he arrived in faster than the driver, he attends church and listens when the finial Amen is spoken Atlas stretches get up without command and on and on. He is my best friend and faithful companion, thanks Southeastern what a perfect team we have become.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hi my name is Pedro camarena and my guide dog is Freddy Gilman I am 31 years old and I have had 17 surgeries and I lost my right eye when I got my guide dog he opened up a whole new world for me he has given me independence I am doing things that I never thought I would be doing like flying a plane by myself doing walkathons now with him by my side anything is possible The limits are end lass I am going out more now than when I was just using my cane And people actually talk to you when you have a guide dog as opposed to when you have a cane people see the change in me many have told me that I am more confident In myself now and it’s all thanks to Southeastern guide dogs To those who are thinking of getting a guided dog I would just like to say go for it he will change your life for the better you will have the conference that you used to have yourself And he will make you think if I can do this what else can I accomplish