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2021 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. Southeastern Guide Dogs has successfully created thousands of guide dog and service dog teams throughout the United States since our inception in 1982, and currently oversees the wellbeing of over 1,200 puppies and dogs. All of our services—which include state-of-the-art research on canine health and development; selective breeding; expert dog training; comprehensive on-campus student instruction; and the most robust alumni support program in North America—are provided at no cost to our clients. 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.

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 supports three distinct programs featuring both guide dogs and service dogs. Our oldest program is our Guide Dog Program serving our clients with vision loss. We place over 70 of our extraordinary dogs annually with clients who have visual impairment. We raise dogs and train them in over 40 cues to help these clients navigate independently. In 2009, we recognized the need in our community to train some of our exceptional dogs as service dogs to partner with military veterans to assist them in managing post-traumatic stress disorder and other disabilities. Through our Veterans Program, we place over 40 dogs with veterans annually. We also place emotional support dogs, facility therapy dogs, and Gold Star Gamily dogs to support military veterans and their families. In 2019, we launched a new initiative to expand our services to children and teens. Our Children and Teens Program features a two-day, residential Guide Dogs Camp for teens aged 14-17 and their parents to learn about the benefits of guide dog ownership. We also lowered the age to receive a guide dog from 18 to 15, so that teens can begin working with a guide dog while still in high school. This program also includes Kids Companion Dogs for children with vision loss and Kids Therapy Dogs to assist children facing difficult situations. All of our programs are provided to our clients completely free of charge.

Community Stories

313 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Murphy was our first SEGD puppy. Although, I was not sure I was qualified to be a puppy raiser, I received all the help, encouragement, and support from everyone at SEGD. Murphy graduated training and is now a working Guide Dog. Raising Murphy was a wonderful experience for my family and I. We cannot wait to do it again. We are so grateful to be a part of the SEGD family.

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.

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!

1

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a puppy raiser with SEGD. Over the past few years they have made a lot of small changes which have had a huge impact for us as puppy raisers, making our volunteer job so much easier. The lines of communication are always open, and the support we receive from puppy raising services and our regional manager is amazing.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a puppy raiser with Southeastern for nearly eight years. Oftentimes, once you become part of an organization, you begin to learn what it's "really" like, warts and all. Southeastern is an amazing organization in that everyone -- everyone! -- is laser-focused on what they do: provide guide dogs to the sight-impaired. I have had only positive experiences in dealing with anyone from Southeastern, from the CEO to the people who clean the floors in the puppy kennel. Their entire mission is underwritten by private donations, and they are an exceedingly responsible steward of the donations they receive. Southeastern is No. 1 in my book.

Nancy223

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became a volunteer Puppy Raiser in 2016. It changed my life. I am now raising my second puppy for SEGD. The experience is extremely rewarding and life-changing, both for the raisers and for the recipient of these remarkable dogs.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Raising a puppy for Southeastern Guide Dogs is an exciting, life-changing opportunity. The puppies are well bred and eager to learn. They give us far more than we give them in the time we are with them. They have to leave us in order to fulfill their real role in life, that of a superhero, but the paw prints they leave on our hearts last a lifetime. Southeastern Guide Dogs cares about the dogs, the puppy raisers and everyone else involved in the dog's life. Every step along the way is rewarding. Puppy Raisers grow right along side the dog. Thank you SEGD!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My neighbors have always been involved in Southeastern by either being puppy raisers or breeder hosts. They have always involved our community in Walkathons and raised awareness. So when my husband passed away 5 years ago, something clicked inside me that said "hey! I should raise a puppy"! The experience has changed my life....even though the goal of raising a puppy is to change someone else's life! I will be raising my 5th dog soon. This organization touches so many lives on all sides. It is an amazing place with amazing people that run a first class non profit organization. I am proud to be a part

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been involved with Southeastern guide dogs since 1990. it is a five star nonprofit !!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Recipe for Friendship
Southeastern Guides is the perfect gift for volunteers. Southeastern provides a sound and firm belief that we are valued... Together staff and volunteers generously change lives for our visually impaired and veterans...

What a rare opportunity to sweeten my life! "Thank you for sweetening my life. When I was 16 my mother wanted me to volunteer at a local hospital after school... I told her that I didn't want volunteer... Her reply " Anne, you will and do you will feel it in your heart!'
I did feel the difference! Each day at Southeastern Guide Dogs were surround with lots of caring hearts.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Raising a puppy for Southeastern Guide Dogs has been a great learning experience. Currently I’m working with the sweetest black Labrador. It’s amazing how fast he learns. I would like to raise more puppies in the future.

whittemore

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SEGD has my vote for a superb non-profit organization. I am nearing the end of raising my first pup for SEGD and it's been such a wonderful experience. As a first time raiser (who didn't know much about raising pups), SEGD provided lots and lots of support! Everything from answering questions, having meetings with all of the local raisers to address issues, making home visits and providing puppy-sitters when I was traveling or just needed a break! The fact that the school provides these service dogs to those that need them, free of charge, is most impressive. The work that goes into each pup is immense...but the end result is overwhelming. To see pups matched to their new handlers is wonderful, and when it comes time watch my pup with her new handler, I know that I will be so proud for having played a small role in changing someone's life! How cool is that! Working with these dogs and the feelings that come with doing this work, is what helps me sleep at night.

My first pup will go IFT (in for training) in July. I started my next pup early, so that pup#1 can help to teach pup#2 what appropriate behavior looks like! See photo below!

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been involved with SEGD for about 9 years. I am always sceptical of organizations requesting money but never SEGD. They are top notch and I believe in their mission 100%. Being a puppy raiser to 2 pups, sponsoring 4 pups, volunteering at their boutique and sitting on a couple of their committees, my loyalty has never swayed. CEO Titus Herman has been amazing and transparent with his intentions. My family will continue to give our hearts, finances and love to this amazing and magical campus!

Lois White G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our family has raised 15 puppies for Southeastern Guide Dogs and we are raising the 16th pup now. I can't even imagine not being a part of puppy raising. This has been a highly satisfying venture with an outstanding organization. We of course love the puppies, but the people we have come in contact with are like minded giving people. The staff and volunteers truly love the cause and it shines through.

Our son started us with puppy raising when he was 16 years old, we were so excited when our first puppy became a guide dog after living with us for about one year, and training at Southeastern for over 7 mos. Pepper worked about 6 years and when it was time for him to retire, our son was in a position to adopt him as a retired guide. Pepper lived out the rest of his life in Nashville where he was a Therapy Dog, expert hiker and a loved family member.

Pictured here is Harley, our 15th puppy. He is currently in for training at Southeastern Guide Dogs and we have high hopes he will attain a job perfect for his skill level.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have gotten two guide dogs from SE Guide Dogs, they have been wonderful and helpful. After graduation services have been great. Their training services during class have been informative and structured.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We are first time puppy raisers from Texas. We are beyond excited and honored for the opportunity to raise a puppy for our FFA program in Fort Bend ISD. and Southeastern Guide Dogs! Jenni and all the volunteers have helped us for weeks training us on how to be puppy raisers. They have answered our endless calls, emails and text in the most cheerful and helpful manner. We are confident that we will have a successful year and can't wait to see the career path Butter will take.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am raising my first puppy for Southeastern Guide Dogs and I am incredibly impressed with this organization. The dogs are beautifully bred--healthy, intelligent, loving--and well-started by an excellent kennel staff. The puppies are a pure pleasure to train, and the organization provides amazing support for puppy raisers. Our area coordinator is outstanding, providing bi-monthly training days which are well-organized and based on both her long experience and on the best, most current research in dog training. She is also always available to offer support and advice. My AC even travelled to my city to observe our local puppy obedience class in order to give me guidance about adjustments which are necessary when raising a guide dog puppy. Professional trainers from the school also offer local special classes for PR's. I feel confident that my pup, Suzie, is being given the best chance possible at becoming a successful guide dog, and I feel assured that I can trust Southeastern Guide Dogs to place her in just the right situation, a place where she can impact lives in a positive way and be loved and cared for in return.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering at Southeastern Guide Dogs in 2006 when it was still a mom/pop organization. I have seen wonderful changes to the physical campus along with amazing changes in the way our Superhero dogs are cared for from birth and trained to become the dogs that transform the lives of our students. All these years later I still get excited to go to my shift as a volunteer. I have been continually trained and given in-service updates on new techniques that create our wonderful guide and service dogs. I truly feel that I am a part of a team of staff and volunteers working together towards a common goal.

People come to us because they cannot see and want the independence a guide dog will give them, or have seen too much ( our veterans) and want the comfort and security of a service dog. They train on the campus receiving all that training and one of our dogs at no cost to them. It changes their life forever! It has been my privilege to volunteer for this wonderful organization and I will continue to do so as long as I can.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing non-profit! I've been a volunteer for over eleven years for this wonderful place. All volunteers are treated as respected colleagues and given lots of in-service training. Besides, who doesn't want to volunteer to work with adorable puppies! They are destined to become Superheros to someone who cannot see (our sight-impaired clients) or someone who has seen too much (our wonderful veterans.)

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Fay Avinoam and I received a beautiful yellow Lab named Inspire . We graduated on March 12 , 2015 from SEGD. She has changed my life considerably by giving me back my independence, goes everywhere with me and my husband on trips to LA, Seattle, Toronto, Cda. She helps me in everyday living, walking through the mall to shop and loves to play. She's always has a toy in her mouth when she greets guests into our home, can't imagine not having her as part of our family. I'm so ever grateful that SEGD has given me an amazing best friend who is cherished by me and whoever meets her. Thank you so much for your ongoing guidance whenever I need assistance. Fay and Inspire

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been legally blind since age 12with, but my condition was not very aggressive until about 15years ago when I had to make the realization that I was not going to see anything but light and dark. I am not a depressed person, but it was a difficult time in my life, I really thought that the doctor’s may not fully know how blind I would really be .At age 67 my wife suggested That I look into getting a guide dog so when we called Southeastern Guide Dog in Florida the ball started rolling for me to get a dog. First the staff I cannot say enough about them they are totally committed to providing a professionally trained guide dog at no cost to each student, also the accommodations and food were excellent. My guide (Patience) has opened up travel to me in a way not possible before, she has enriched my wife and my life, she is my best and most loyal animal I have ever had, I cannot Thank Southeastern Guide Dog enough. Ithas to be one of the most rewarding jobs to have.

Thank You
Vincent Beatty (Class of July-August of 2012)

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Southeastern Guide Dogs is an amazing organization. I have been a puppy raiser for 2 years, participated in events to promote, and help fundraise for the guide dogs. SEDG cares deeply about all the dogs and their well being.

Kit D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Southeastern Guide Dogs has been one of the 3 charities I have supported for the past 30+ years both during my working career as an RN and now that I am retired.
The nurse in me respects them for what they do to change people's lives. The transformations their dogs can make in the lives of those with visual or emotional challenges are miraculous!
The dog lover in me respects what characteristics they have developed and nurtured in their dogs and how they accomplish their goals. As I volunteer for SEGD on and off campus I know first hand how much dedication the staff and management at SEGD strives for perfection but achieves without taking shortcuts to develop their dogs.
The parent in me respects the method SEGD uses to develop their programs. They use patience, love and tolerance in every aspect of their organization. SEGD makes it their mission to transform lives by providing others with hope. In my opinion hope is the greatest gift one can give. Southeastern Guide Dogs provide all with hope.

Beth234567

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve seen firsthand how Southeastern Guide Dogs transforms lives. For those accepted into the programs - providing professionally trained guide dogs to legally blind adults and service dogs to veterans diagnosed with PTSD at no cost is extraordinary! These dogs are hope and freedom!! Southeastern Guide Dogs is like a family offering support every step of the way, a mission oriented organization that believes everyone deserves a fulfilled life! Volunteering for Southeastern Guide Dogs is the BEST!!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Two years ago I attended a Southeastern Guide Dog Graduation. We were introduced to 7 new graduates and their guide dogs . We listened, cried and cheered as each graduate described how his life had changed because of his new dog and the intense 20 + day training they (dog and person) received. I wanted to find out more about an organization that leads people to discover independence and confidence. I volunteer in the Puppy Kennel, Student Enrichment, kitchen, and anywhere else I’m needed. I absolutely love my time at SEGD. What’s not to love? I get to play with puppies, feed and walk handsome dogs, and interact with people who truly care about others!

Review from CharityNavigator

Client Served

Rating: 5

My life was blessed when Southeastern Guide Dogs accepted my Service Dog application. The approval process included a professional instructor home visit. The instructor took time to evaluate my mental and physical capabilities. The instructor evaluated the home environment including prior experience with dogs.
Their facilities exceeded my expectations. Being introduced to Coco, mu Service Dog partner
was the beginning of a new life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a puppy raiser for this organization since 2010 and they are the BEST!! The lives that I, alone, have seen SEGDI touch has been mind boggling (and thats just what I'VE witnesses personally!) The staff, the volunteers, the graduates ... they are ALL wonderful!! If I could give TEN STARZ I would!!!!! This charity ROCKS!!! #SEGDIROCKS

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Southeastern Guide Dogs for over 5 years, and helped with Walk-A-Thons and other activities. This is without doubt the most enjoyable volunteer experience of my life. The staff are always appreciative, the volunteers cheerful, and the dogs wonderful. The chance to see graduations when the client is about to leave with their guide is one of the most heartwarming and emotional experiences one can imagine. Additionally, they work hard to ensure the volunteers are well trained and events are organized.
The organization is fully dedicated to providing the best experience for their clients, both the visually impaired or the recipient of a service dog with excellent training, compassion, and high quality housing and meals during the training period. The new facilities for the puppies and dogs in training are of the highest quality and every effort is made to ensure the dogs have the best care and plenty of attention. This is a truly great organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My wife and I have volunteered at Southeast Guide Dogs for about 4 years and are always astounded by the growth we see in education, grounds, and the dedication we see from everyone. Staff are always professional, friendly, and appreciative of all that the volunteers do for them. We never dreamt that we would find a place that was so caring and doing so much for those in need - at no cost to anyone receiving a dog. The place is truly amazing and we can't imagine there is another program that can equal it. It should get a 10 star for all it does.

Susan P.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve raised two puppies for SEGD. The first one made it all the way to being a guide dog. Everyone who came for raiser day was treated like kings & queens.
The second puppy was so easy to train but she was career changed due to fear of loud noises.
SEDG is a great organization to volunteer for. As raisers, we are given directions & a regional manager comes
To help us with commands. All of our raisers are dedicated to the puppies becoming Guide Dogs because we are treated so well.

Donor

Rating: 5

Amazing organization, giving people independence, self respect, pride, courage all through the love and service of an hero (guide dog).

Karen M.6

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was amazed at the great service this organization dose for the low vision community. The caring for the dogs to the people is top rated in my book. I have served o many nonprofit boards over 40 years and can say with with confidence that Southeastern Guide Gog is one of the best.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a puppy raiser and this organization is a very hands on help group. Since this is my first time, they have stood by me and helped with great tips on how to be successful. They have kept me motivated. I've met a lot of caring and giving people in this Ft Myers FL group. They are the best

Client Served

Rating: 5

I got my first guide dog back in 2006. The match was perfect. Now I'm on my second guide from Southeastern. Again, they made the perfect match for me. I don't know what I would do without my dog guide. I just wish I had know about them years before. I always thought I had too much vision to use a guide dog, even though I have been legally blind since birth. I didn't know that I qualified. Now that I do, I will never be without a guide. Thanks to Southeastern, my life is so much better than it was before. And I have never met such patient people in my entire life. I am totally awed by the trainers and the program. They deserve all the credit in the world.
Keith Flowers Tallahassee FL.

Kimberley Sue Dusenbury G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We are puppy raising our 3rd puppy! We love Southeastern Guide Dogs! They have great trainers, very knowledgeable about everything about the puppies. Our Area Coordinator is the most caring man we could ask for!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Southeastern Guide Dogs changes lives, especially for our veterans. As parents of an Iraqi Veteran and also an active FL National Guardsman, we have seen the transformation made with our veterans when they are matched to one of our Southeastern Guide Dogs. As puppy raisers, our first puppy, Ranger, has been matched to an Iraqi Army veteran. They have fallen in love and Ranger will provide a great service to him. We know both of them will take good care of each other. Yes, its hard to give the puppy up at 13 or 14 months old, but the results are well worth it.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great mission, wonderful and caring staff, and dedicated volunteers. And, puppies and dogs.

Annie W.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so honored to be a puppy raiser. The facility is beautiful and we have top notch staff, volunteers and puppies!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto FL for years now. It is an organization that is dear to my heart. I have seen visually impaired people and military veterans lives change due to this marvelous organization. Of course this organization is non profit and the dogs that are raised and trained for these people are done so without any government financial support. I have seen and heard first hand what a difference this school has made in so many lives and I am proud to volunteer for Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a wonderful organization! The staff are top-notch and the dogs...oh my gosh, THE DOGS!! I have volunteered for several years and absolutely love it.

Robbie C.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Southeastern Guide Dogs changed my life. When I first was told I couldn’t remain at my job of 23 years as a law enforcement officer because of my detoriating vision, I hit rock bottom. I eventually went to the Division of Blind Services to apply for rehabilitation and in the file was an application for a guide dog. Without hesitation, I applied. It was the best decision I ever made. Southeastern Guide Dogs mean what they say, and says what they mean. ALL their services to their students are at NO COST. They have a gorgeous campus, providing housing and meals, training and all the equipment needed for a successful handler/dog team. I’ve recieved 3 dogs from them. Each one provided life changing independence and freedom. This organization is truly one of the best and I am extremely happy to be a graduate from there.

Mickey G.2

Client Served

Rating: 2

I am a2x graduate of SEGD. The 1st guide dog i received in 2007, his name was Ted. The 2nd time was in 2013 and her name is Alexis. Ted was great and trained well, i retired him. Alexis was trained witha different method that the switched and it is not worth their time. Ipersonaly will never have another guide dog, rather use my White Cane again, at least it minds.!

Client Served

Rating: 5

After my time in the Marine Corps as a combat veteran with buried memories of wartime.
I was able to keep them hidden for many years.
That all changed several years ago and in a really bad way, after being told I was suffering from PTSD along with depression.

Those were very dark days for me. I would go nowhere but the VA clinic for my appointments.
And only go to the grocery very early or late at nite.
It was no life, no friends, no wife. Just existing with no end in site.

I had thought of leaving this world that I did not understand.

After getting in the program that the VA was offering it actually brought some light into my dark days of a miserable life.

My Doctor told me that a service dog would possibly be very helpful in my recovery.
She gave me Southeastern Guide dogs phone number.
I called, filled the paperwork out and received several positive phone calls from them, and then a home visit.
Fast forward I got my service dog as the school allowed me Recon as my partner in life. We got close quickly and has been by my side over 3years now.

This has changed my life, gave my confidence back. I am still in treatment but at a much lower treatment level. I smile again.

We have been on out of state trips. We go out to eat with ease. She likes going to church.
We are planning a few R V trips this summer. In short, she has given me my life back.

It is impossible to find the words to explain my gratefulness to all who are involved in helping so many lost Veterans getting out of the dark. You have my support for life for I am a believer in this Great organization. Thank you all
James Willis

lambert

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working for Southeastern Guide Dogs for a number of years I would say 11 or 12 as a volunteer. I worked with the puppies when they were 6 weeks old, worked with them when they were just about 6 days old and older puppies. You could not ask for a better nonprofit organization they train these superheros to help many many people, people with no vision where they can live new lives and be independent and very safe with our great dogs, service men and women with lives that keep out of the limelight because of PDS and our superheros help them to go out and enjoy life again. Plus they have other very useful careers to help children and elderly where can a person go to have such smart well trained dogs where you can go out into the world again and enjoy life with your friends and family. My experience over the years was seeing so many people with these beautiful smiles when they leave the school knowing they are safe going out into the world happy and safe.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Southeastern Guide Dogs going on five years.It is a wonderful organization & I love my volunteer work with the Puppy Hugging kennel. I have seen these puppies grow up to be a great dog that will help for a impaired person or one of our men back from the military, they now can go out walking or just about go anywhere leisure, walking, visiting, making a person smile and to see how happy they are to live a normal life. It has been a great experience I've have learned an awful lot and hope to volunteer there as long as I am able.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family have been puppy raisers with Southeastern for many years. Although they are in Florida and we are in Texas, the amount of support they supply (including via an AMAZING regional manager!) has made this a wonderful experience that we have come back to year after year - we've raised 6 puppies and have already signed up to raise our 7th for the coming year!!! We have been proud to work with SEGD, and been lucky enough to help train dogs that have gone on to careers helping visually impaired people and veterans. A GREAT organization.

David K.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

They changed my life with the wonderful work they do. I got my first guide doc with them and we went on many adventures because of this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently retired after 45 years in the educational profession and was looking for an opportunity to volunteer with an organization that served and helped those in need. Southeastern Guide Dogs has exceeded my expectations in allowing me to be involved in raising and training dogs to assist sight impaired individuals and therapy dogs for veterans. I volunteer in the Puppy Kindergarten taking care of the young pups and have learned so much from this outstanding organization. The standards and regulations for the program are exceptional. Staff/volunteer training is exemplary and support is unconditional. I’m honored to be involved in such a worthwhile endeavor.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a Southeastern Guide Dog supporter/volunteer for many years. I have participated in many Walkathons and on campus volunteer assignments. I have seen many dogs transform lives in many ways. The dedication of the staff and volunteers is evident in so many others lives and that is what makes this organization so wonderful. It is a privilege to be associated and volunteer with Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I share this message with each of you that may have a child or loved one suffering with vision loss or PTSD. Southeastern Guide Dogs has transformed my life from being more and more dependent upon others during the process of hereditary vision loss. At one point in my life, I even had a red and white cane this is used by the blind to navigate. This is where most people's stories end. This is where my story begins. I met Southeastern through a close friend involved with the Lions Club and worked with another close friend to submit my application. I shared with many of my co-workers "what am I going to do with a dog?" Now, the question is "what won't I do with a dog?" My superhero's name is Malcolm. A no-strings attached gift from Southeastern Guide Dogs. This gift in my family is known as the gift that keeps on giving. Consider reaching out to Suzy Wilburn or Allison to start the admission process for your loved one.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

Southeastern Guide Dogs has transformed my life for the better. They have given me back my independence. The trainers at the campus are some of the most dedicated and hardworking group of people. You leave the campus with a few more family members. The classes are designed to help those with visual impairments to better gain their independence. The students are put through training that will help them better navigate through different settings from malls to restaurants, to trails in the country or through the city. Each student is given their own rooms that are very clean and neat and come with a house keeper. The food is great and the atmosphere is just like being at home. Highly recommended for those with visual challenges and veterans suffering from PTSD.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband suffers from PTSD and his emotional support dog has helped him go out and about more now than ever. Can't say enough about the wonderful Southeastern Guide Dogs organization. Wish I could give them a million dollars for their organization!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My good friend Whitey was fortunate enough to get a wonderful guide dog. Hap has made a big difference in his need for independence. I love seeing them out together!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a Vietnam vet that has been fighting PTSD before i came home on 6/24/1971. I requested help getting a service dog after i saw a young vet at the Melbourne, Fl Vet center. I was stunned when I saw that team work.
Kim came to our home for an evaluation. It was decided because of my problem walking a ESA would be best.
I met my dog on 07/24/17. I knew I was getting a Black Lab but nothing else. I was born in Wash., D. C., raised in the outskirts in MD, went to High School in D.C. and was a Wash. Redskins fan my whole life. What would be my dog's name? Yes! DALLAS is his name. Does God have a sense of humor?
I love Dallas. I don't know what I would do without him. Since I have gotten him he has gone everywhere with me. People always stop us and tell me how they wished their dogs were as well trained. When I go to the VA for appointments there is at least one vet asking where I got him. I always tell them to contact Southeastern Guide Dogs.
Like I said I love my dog and Southeastern Guide Dogs!

Lee_18

Client Served

Rating: 5

I’m legally blind- most people say”you don’t look blind” until I trip over something or have difficulty following the waitress to my restaurant seat. Enter JP! Not only do I have less trouble, I look cool doing it! Everyone wants to see JP and tell me about ‘the black lab I had when I was a kid’! It takes me a long time to shop in Walmart!

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Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't say enough good things about the volunteers I came in contact with while I was in class! S. drove me to church ( twice!) and grilled a BBQ one evening. The volunteers I met at the Sarasota gift shop were so nice! They were excited about meeting us snd our guides. We came in from the blistering heat and they had cool drinks and snacks. One volunteer gave the ladies a manicure before our graduation. The puppy raisers were... My heros. JP ( my guide) has such great manners and is well adjusted. Anyone looking into volunteering should know that there are a variety of jobs and that you will become part of a big happy family!
LP and JP