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2019 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. create and train 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. 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 and receive no government funding.

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 2018, we supported 548 active teams who gave us a 99.8% student satisfaction rating. We placed 49 guide dogs with visually impaired students and 51 dogs into careers benefitting veterans. We also placed 64 dogs into other careers.

Geographic areas served: The continental U.S.

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 and receive no government funding. 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

277 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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!

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.

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.

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!

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!