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.
I took the opportunity of volunteering for Southeastern Guide Dogs after seeing the tremendous difference it made in liberating and restoring my partner's dignity. Each day, we continue to appreciate the blessings from his Guide Dog's service, patience, gentle spirit, protective nature and unconditional love. As I stand back and watch their interaction, I still tear up from time to time seeing the beautiful bond they have established. I am so proud of being associated with Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc., and have great respect for all the puppy raisers that have helped to provide the early foundation for developing our super heroes!
We often hear people say – you don’t know what you don’t know. I grew up around dogs, and as an adult with children we had plenty of dogs as pets. Of course, I knew dogs were smart, and that a dog could be trained for all sorts of duties. What I didn’t know is how much value would be added to my life after I lost my sight by having a guide dog. I know that I was given a true gift when I received a dog raised by well-trained , loving puppy raisers and truly qualified guy dog handler‘s. I recommend south eastern guy dogs to all people who need the services of a guide animal.
I am a disabled veteran with ptsd and was so blessed to be helped by Southeastern. My service dog Mikey helps mitigate my disability in so many ways. And there was no cost to me. At all. Having a service dog as a non-traditional “treatment” would have been financially out of my reach. I am healthier today and take less medication because of his influence in my life. All because hundreds of angels in blue Southeastern shirts decided to really support the troops; with action, not just words. I am forever in their debt.
This summer I am puppy sitting for two weeks at a time for little puppies from 10 to 14 weeks old. When I picked up my last puppy, Ace, they had changed the puppy I was sitting to make sure I did not have to take an extra trip to the Vet for routine shots during the time I had him. It is being concerned with little things like that for their volunteers that makes them a great place to work with. The attached photo is Ace and my career changed guide dog Magic.
I am a puppy raiser for Southeastern Guide dogs (SEGD). I am on my 6th puppy. Unfortunately, my little guy tore his ACL and will not be able to used as a service dog. This unfortunate event showed me how dedicated SEGD is to their dogs welfare, as well as to providing excellent guides to their graduates. They are performing the surgery to correct the ACL so that the puppy can be put up for adoption with a good chance at a normal life. When you raise these puppies you fall in love with them. It is comforting to know that they have every chance to live a good life whether as a service dog or as someone's pet if they can not make it as a service dog.
Since I received my guide dog cc from Southeast Guide dog my life has changed ,she gives me freedom and companionship.when I’m around other guide dogs from other schools I know that I’ve been taught by the best. Thanks Norm Pazda class of 2014
Have volunteered at this organization for over 5 years. My experience has been great. They offer a wide variety of jobs to volunteer for. Southeastern has a wonderful program of education for each job so you can feel very comfortable with your assignment. Staff and other volunteers make my time there feel worthwhile, it is a wonderful place to be a volunteer.
Hello, I am JeanAnn and my guide dog, Sarge, and I are a team and Sarge has changed my life and I am so grateful to Southeastern Guide Dogs for the training and hand holding love I have experienced from them.
Sarge is my first guide dog and at age 80, I am no spring chicken but with Sarge at my side we together conquer the MARTA transportation system in Atlanta. Sarge and I have been in 15 different airports and amazingly he has found me the ladies restroom in each location. This might seem a simple task but when you cannot read signs -this is an extremely important job he does for me - we even end up visiting these facilities even when I have no desire to go but Sarge thinks it is important.
From becoming blind and retreating from most travel and meetings with others, Sarge has truly been life changing in giving me back my independence. Thanks SEGD, you are awesome!
SEGD is a tremendous place to volunteer. This organization has something to offer anyone, no matter age or talent. Next month, I will be returning a black lab puppy that I raised and trained for them for 14 months. I can easily say that it has been very rewarding to be a part of SEGD's mission.
My experience began in 2007 when my womens group visited the campus and we decided to raise money to sponsor and name a puppy. She ended up becoming a breeder for Southeastern and we followed her journey. Then I became a Volunteer Puppy Raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs. What a positive and life changing experience. Best training ever and we became a family of like minded Raisers. I am still a donor and part of the puppy raising family. The mission and passion and purpose of this organization is beyond compare. It is an honor to serve those who cannot see and those who have seen too much.
SEGD is an amazing organization. I was first introduced to them during one of their Open Houses. I was able to walk the path of Freedom with darkened glasses, relying only on a trained Guide dog. It was amazing!! They provide service dogs at no cost to someone in need. I just knew I needed to be a part of this wonderful organization. Today, I’m a puppy raiser and hope that my dog Jammer can make a difference in someone’s life in the future!
When we first relocated to Florida, we met and befriended a couple on Bradenton Beach. The gentleman friend was visually impaired and had his guide dog Levet. We saw how Bill' s world was made so available to him because of Levet. He encouraged us to look into puppy raising at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto Florida. Unbeknownst to Bill, we not only looked into raising, but took the required training to be a puppy raiser, and received our first pup, Tangerine. We met them for lunch, arriving with Tangerine....there wasn't a dry eye in the place! Tangerine went on to be placed with a wonderful, visually impaired gentleman from South Carolina. Attending the visitation that day, just before graduation, we were 'proud parents', watching our own Tangerine proudly guide Frank through their course on campus. We, as all puppy raisers, volunteer our service to raise these pups for the first year of their lives, then see them go IFT; In Formal Training, for 6-8 months before being matched with their new partner. As any child leaving the 'nest', we were proud, but we cried, both tears of pride and the knowledge that the pup, would now become someone else's, to guide them, love them, give them the courage the visually impaired person or veteran needs to go out into the world, and be loved in return. Our hearts swelled with pride! Knowing that the individuals receiving these well trained dogs, do so at no cost to the individual receiving the dog; their training, room and board are all provided free of charge, NO one is denied a dog because one cannot afford one. Imagine the feeling when you tell people as you raise these puppies, that someday this pup will help someone in need, and no, there is no cost. It is all done by very generous donations of money and time.
We are now raising our sixth pup, and we fall in love with each and everyone, and yes, we cry with each pup as it returns to campus, but we will continue to raise these wonderful puppies as long as we can, so that individuals, be it visual impairment or PTSD, or any other capacity the pups can learn to do to help people. We have raised six, but some individuals have raised far more, and others fill other important roles at Southeastern Guide Dogs. Remember, it takes a village to raise a SEGD pup!
PS my husband and I believe so much in this organization, we recently sold our home and moved closer to their campus so we could be more involved with them.
As volunteers at Southeastern, we are so impressed with the entire organization and what they have achieved and what they continue to do! The dogs that are raised and trained here profoundly affect and change the lives of all they touch. The stories of the people who receive a SEGD dog are so heart warming. The staff are truly miracle workers!
Bob and Patti Hankerson
I have had the privilege of raising six puppies for Southeastern Guide Dogs. The support offered to puppy raisers was available twenty four hours a day. Caring Area Coordinators and Regional Managers were there to instruct and monitor the puppies as they grew.
Puppy Raising Services kept us aware of when vaccinations and immunizations were needed. We were informed with more than enough notice when our puppy was ready to go In For Training.
While the dogs continued their training with the school’s professional trainers,
we raisers were kept abreast of how they were progressing with a monthly report card.
I have never been involved with anything that had so many caring people involved.
Kay Furey, South Sarasota
I became a volunteer puppy raiser for southeastern guide dogs in 2015. I raised two dogs. My first became an Arson dog and my second became a veteran service dog. What this organization does is amazing. Seeing what these dogs can do is so humbling and life changing. I have made so many friends through this organization who share the same passion as me, which I am truly thankful for. I just started raising my third puppy for SEGD and I also have an internship with them. SEGD will always be apart of my life.
Raising a puppy for Southeastern Guide Dogs is a great volunteer job. You get to work with a puppy and watch it grow. You meet a really nice people and you hear about a lot of other people's dogs along the way. You get to tell the story about Southeastern Guide dogs and the good they do. Your dog might even change the life of a seeing impaired person or a veteran.
My wife and I have become volunteer puppy raisers for S.E.G.D this year and love this organization. Being a part of their mission to provide free guide dogs for people in need has been one of the most fulfilling things one could imagine. The stories of dogs changing and improving lives and the love and care that their trainers and staff provide for their dogs are just a few of the many reasons I’m giving S.E.G.D a five star review.
The work of the folks and puppies at Southeast Guide Dogs has been lauded by the many who have benefited by receiving a puppy for vision and emotional support.
We appreciate that each puppy is raised by volunteer puppy raisers. This is an especially high contact job. 30 commands are learned and exercises plus dietary restrictions applied.
The devotion to the animals and compassion for those who need help are top priority and it shows.
My volunteer service with Southeastern Guide Dogs began in 2016, when I first relocated to Florida. Since that time, I have learned so much, and have had the pleasure of working with truly exceptional individuals, who are totally committed to the inspirational mission of the organization. I am inspired the minute I arrive on the campus. There is a pervasive spirituality there, and I know many others experience it, too. I have qualified to volunteer in several areas, and in each setting, I see professionals working at the highest standards, bringing their joy an their commitment to their work every day. The Volunteer Department does an exceptional job recognizing the work of the volunteers, and everyone feels truly appreciated. I feel fortunate to have a role in the village it takes to turn these exquisite superheroes into guide dogs, service dogs, and superb companions. I have had the pleasure of meeting lovely people who have become my friends, and with whom I do truly satisfying work on the campus. It is so conspicuously a place where everyone is happy, and everyone is dedicated to the same cause. It is truly a privilege to be there.
Volunteering at Southeastern Guide Dogs has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. From the day I first saw the billboard which inspired me to find out more about this wonderful organization, till now, I have loved every minute spending time with the precious dogs, meeting new friends and learning about how this program impacts and enriches so many lives. Collectively, everyone involved has one mission: to help someone live a better life by providing a loving animal who is highly trained and eager to “work”. Whether volunteering with puppies, breeders, or dogs in training, each experience has been so special and meaningful to me. I hope I can continue to volunteer for many years to come!
Southeastern Guide Dogs is the best nonprofit I have ever been a part of. Currently, I am raising my first guide dog through the puppy raiser program. It is the most rewarding experience. I’m surrounded by wonderful people who have become my family through this program. Southeastern is a hero to those who have been helped through the program.
Every interaction I have had with Southeastern has been a positive and professional one! It all started 3 years ago when I looked for an organization to volunteer for. I attended several of their educational opportunities/experiences, helped with the walk a thon in my area, made puppy collars and ultimately became a puppy raiser! The level of support, positivity and enjoyment I have received is priceless! Every employee and volunteer I have encountered has been so passionate about the organization and the mission! And now with their amazing campus, the people receiving their dog, get the most top notch opportunity! I love Southeasren Guide Dogs for who they are and all they do!
After returning home from serving in the U.S. Army I was reduced to a shell of a man due to combat related disabilities. I immersed myself in work trying to forget about the past. But after many years, this took its toll on my family since I could not go to a crowed place with them; I could not go to a loud place with them; I could not go shopping with them or out to eat on their birthdays. I then watched a YouTube video about how service dogs help veterans like me get back out in the world and through my exhaustive searching, to include the V.A., I landed on Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc.. Not only did they accept me, they provided me with my companion (Brenna -- a yellow Labrador), a place to reside during the ten days of on-site training, three meals a day, transportation to and from the airport and around town, and regular follow-up visits to my out of state home...they did all of this at no cost to us (me, we), the veterans of this great nation, to those of us that have seen the worst life has to offer, weather in combat, in training, or through the lowest acts of humanity. I am forever grateful to Southeastern Guide Dogs Inc. as I would not have otherwise been able to get what they provided anywhere else (that includes my daughters statement 'I can't wait for dad to come home so I can take him to the mall'). U.S. Army, Staff Sergeant Raymond W. Allbright, combat veteran with disabilities and a service dog!
My family has been a puppy raiser family since 2009. I've always loved how dogs can add to our lives in ways we may never understand. In addition to providing guide dogs for visually impaired, this school changes the lives of Veterans, Gold Star Families and many others. I know that my family has been touched by every single dog that has come thru our doors. Right now we have a career changed goldador. The other day I was watching a video of our Gold Star Families and realized it was not what I should be watching as my son prepares for his 1st deployment for the USMC. Our career changed dog was on the lanai and immediately barked to be let in. She came to my side and rested her head on my lap during the entire video and stayed by me for awhile longer. If any of us are ill, she is right by our side and will not budge.
My experience with southeastern guide dogs is as a volunteer.
I’ve worked in the training kennels, where ,as the name suggests ,the dogs in training are prepared for their careers as guide or service dogs .
There I observed the wonderful relationship of the dogs to their professional trainers.
The caring staff ,and the wonderful volunteers who are always ready to
Say... I can do that. I can help. Days , holidays ,rain or shine.
The Puppy Acadamy is where the dogs are whelped . Always with a staff person quietly welcoming the new pups.
I’m VOLUNTEER in the puppy nursery . And with prior training I follow and socialize
these pups who will be going on the puppy kindergarten .
Where they learn some very important behavior ....like walking on a leash and following simple commands
Then they are off to a Volunteer Puppy Raiser who opens her heart and home
To this special puppy , who will return to our campus to be trained to be, what we call, a super-hero.
And I should mention , this is all accomplished as a non-profit. We never charge
the recipient of these life changing dogs ,as they’ve been called, any
I am so very proud to say I am a volunteer at SEGD.
My wife and I have raised 7 puppies for Southeastern Guide Dogs. Two of the puppies we raised went on to become working guide dogs and are a great help to the people they were matched with. Two other puppies became Ambassador Dogs for Southeastern, and one became a bomb-sniffing police dog. We have had the opportunity to meet and hear several graduates (some who are visually impaired and some who are veterans with PTSD) who told how much these dogs have helped them and how great Southeastern has been to them. Southeastern provides the dogs and their services for free to the recipients! And they don't receive government support. They are a great organization that trains dogs to help the visually impaired and veterans. The thing that has impressed us most is that these dogs are not only become guides & helpers, they become best friends of the people who receive them.
I became involved with Southeastern Guide Dogs 6 years ago. I was approached by a tenant who had an employee who wanted to raise a future guide dog puppy and bring the puppy to work. After seeing her work with two puppies, how well behaved the dogs were, how she not only taught the puppy basic obedience but also taught that other tenant's and staff here the rules of approaching a guide dog. After I obtained my first personal dog and saw how he changed the dynamics of our family we decided that we would become puppy raisers. I just picked up puppy #6 and my new happy place is being on campus with my new extended SEGD family and I value this experience that is the greatest accomplishment I have achieved and I will be forever changed.
Absolutely one of the best experiences of my life. The trainers and all other staff are truly wonderful people and I am so thankful for everything they do. They gave me back my confidence, independence, and most importantly- gave me my best friend.
Southeastern Guide Dogs is a life saver! They support Veterans in need of Service Dogs 100% free of charge and they do an excellent job. Cruiser is my partner and he helps with my mobility and independence every day and all he expects in return is love.
As a puppy raiser, I have learned so much about what it takes to raise and train a guide dog and service animal. Southeastern Guide Dogs donates guide dogs to the blind and service dogs to veterans suffering with PTSD. Before joining this organization, I never realized how much time, money, love, and courage is spent with these rising superheroes. From the whelping centers, to the puppy academy, to the puppy raising communities, to in for training, and last but not least, to the graduates, everything is impeccable and well thought out. These dogs make it easier for veterans and legally blind individuals to continue their life without any barriers.
Southeastern Guide Dogs is more then a nonprofit organization with a mission statement. They are a family full of commitment, devotion, and compassion. Committed to provided the smartest and most caring guide dog that has exceeded my expectations. Devoted to training and transforming my dog and me into a team that defies the odds while walking in the city and hiking on the A.T.. Compassion that reaches out to all people, of all ways of life so that we are no longer defined by our vision, but now go beyond our sight. My time at SGD's was spent with amazing trainers, volunteers, and staff that gave me home away from home!
I received my battle buddy Ranger from SEGD in July of 2017. She has been with me 24/7 since that time. Not a day goes by that I'm not thankful for her. She has given me so much strength and courage to go out and be active again. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
(Picture: Always close by and ready to spring into action)
I received my Service Dog, Mustang, from Southeastern Guide Dogs. My dog and the experience with Southeastern Guide Dogs had changed my life. I'm not stuck in the house anymore. I'm out, I'm active, I'm enjoying life, all thanks to Southeastern Guide Dogs!
the peopleall of them paid and volunteers are uniqque caring individuals who are 110%dedicated to south easterns mission.
Raise a Puppy!! It makes you feel so good and gives the pup a great start!
I have volunteered at the VA in St. Petersburg FL as a Prisoner of War National Service Officer. Working with POWs I saw a need for those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The Service Dogs at Southeastern Guide Dogs are amazing. The men that I worked with and all PTSD individuals have their lives back because of these dogs. Southeaster Guide Dogs, the staff members as well as the volunteers are the best in the world. I am so impressed with what they do and the way they give life back to those that are visually impaired and those suffering from PTSD that I volunteer there three days a week. I LOVE this organization and what they stand for, I just can't say enough. This is a WONDERFUL organization and I am so proud of being a small part of helping change peoples lives.
SEGD is truly the greatest nonprofit on the planet! They gave my life back and continue to amaze me!
Veteran with ptsd. My service dog, Flounder, is a genius. This is due to the fantastic overall training since birth. Southeastern guide dogs treated me with great service and respect. They are the real deal and not trying to push animals out the door for money. I am not easily impressed but they are 5 star in all facets. They check on Flounder and myself twice a year to make we are both still functioning as a team properly. Flounder and I take our yearly ADI standard test. This all shows how not only do you receive excellent care when on campus but the follow up speaks volumes. I could go on but I would be remiss if I did not mention the five star chefs and accommodations. It is worth the wait for quality. God Bless Southeastern Guide Dogs. JR
I've been volunteering with Southeastern Guide Dogs for three years. With all the recent controversy about guide/comfort dogs, these dogs are the real deal - starting with a breeding program, expertly trained to assist their "person", and trained to not be intrusive into the general public's environment. A special joy is too see our dogs out in public, doing their jobs and knowing I had a small part in helping that person's life change
I have been a volunteer for Southeastern Guide Dogs for over 10 years. During that time, I've had some life-changing experiences. Raising a puppy for the guide dog program has to be #1 on the list. Perhaps the most rewarding and fulfilling experience ever! To realize that the time and energy one expends to nurture, love and train that little ball of fur into an adult dog that provides hope, independence and freedom to its recipient, is without question, a heartwarming and transformational experience. Now, as a campus tour guide, I have the distinct pleasure of sharing the Southeastern story with our campus visitors. What truly makes my volunteer time at Southeastern such a pleasure, is the fact that every volunteer is genuinely appreciated and acknowledged for their efforts - not just occasionally, but continually. Something that I've not experienced with other organizations for whom I also volunteer. Our student recipients receive a world-class experience and a world-class dog - without cost to them - making Southeastern Guide Dogs a truly magical place!
Southeastern Guide Dogs not only treats you like a king when you are with them with their 5 star accommodations and food service but with their top of the line trainers and best in class dogs. Southeastern Guide Dogs is an execlent stewart of their financial contributions and make the recipients of their grace able to revive their dogs free of charge. As a combat veteran and a father of a large family I would have had no ability to pay for Jannus my now 3 year old yellow lab. Thank you Southeastern Guide dogs for all that you do.
Southeastern is the most amazing place! Everyone is so generous and giving of their time! They have given me my independence back!
Great organization. They offer their services free of charge to those in need.
My husband has a guide dog from SEGD. And what a transformation it has made. He is a veteran that lost his vision gradually due to an infection he picked up in Vietnam that affected his Optic nerves. It took him a long time to accept the fact that he needed a Dog but once he did what a difference it made in his life and mine. I saw him regain his independence and pride. He received his dog and training at no cost to us. SEGD doesn’t receive government assistance but rely on the generosity of many people who donate funds and their time. I now am giving back as well by volunteering in the puppy academy which brings me much joy and happiness that I can do my small part. What an awesome organization!
PJ is my reason for getting out my front door! Without Southeastern Guide Dogs, it would have been impossible to get my independence back. I’m thankful for their skills in their matching process and the fact that they are always there for me. Thanks to them, I am able to live by my motto “Get up! Dress up! Show up!!” Blessed with a PJ!!!
Southeastern Guide Dogs has changed my life for the better. They, through there generosity have made it possible for me to start getting back my life. I am blessed to have an amazing Guide dog "Caras" who keeps me safe and active. I can never thank them enough.
Southeastern Guide Dogs has given me back my life. I was in such a bad way before becoming a student there, I truly had no idea what would become of me. After being matched with my guide dog Caras, I now am able to do so much more! I am happy and living a full life. I am no longer alone and I am getting out every day! Was it hard?, yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely! I owe Southeastern Guide Dogs so much, Thank You Southeastern Guide Dogs, you are truly a gift for so many!
I have volunteered with Southeastern Guide Dogs since 2000 and marvel at the constant quality of services provided by them. They provide guide dogs to visually-impaired persons as well as assistance dogs to Veterans all free of charge. Southeastern treats their employees and volunteers with respect, and we always get to see the results of teamwork. I am a volunteer and also a proud donor to Southeastern Guide Dogs.
AMAZING! The staff and crew at SEGD is amazing from Titus all the way down! Every trainer, staff worker, and crew employee is awesome, respectful, and always helpful. Without the help and GUIDEance of SEGD, I don’t know where I would be.
I am a puppy raiser and an ambassador handler to one of my retired guide dogs. The experience and the support and help from SEGD school is always top notch, as well as kind, caring and very sensitive to the needs of the Recipiant as well as the feelings of the volunteers, whom dedicate their time and love.
I think SEGD is one of the most amazing organizations I have ever had the privilege to work with! It is a highly professional, committed, and extremely effective entity. Not only the staff, but also the volunteers, are a dedicated, competent group of professionals who are committed to excellence. The care and intelligence with which they treat and handle the dogs is exemplary. Their dogs are first class and are a bridge of hope, inspiration and transformation for their students. I am so proud to be a part of their mission to help the visually impaired and veterans.
I have been a volunteer with Southeastern Guide Dogs for 5 years. I'm proud to be a part of this great organization. The staff is kind, caring and conscientious.
The dogs are wonderful. I love the time I'm able to spend playing with the puppies, helping them to become socialized and ready to go home to a puppy raising family.
Attention to detail is evident everywhere - in the communication, training, design and upkeep of the facilities. Southeastern Guide Dogs is exemplary.
Great people working to make a great cause a reality. The service they provide to the vision impaired and Veterans with PTSD is outstanding. They also train dogs for many other careers. A great place to volunteer. The staff never fails to make the volunteers feel appreciated.
I have been volunteering for three years. I enjoy working with the dogs in the Training Kennel. The Staff are great to work with. They appreciate the volunteers and show it. The Administration keeps the volunteers informed of classes we can take to gain more knowledge. Their website makes it easy to change your schedule if needed. Overall, it is a very rewarding experience.
While still in Chicago, my wife and I started a NFP to help veterans with PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injury by providing the with service dogs, free to the veterans. When we moved to Sarasota we were excited to have an opportunity to work with Southeastern Guide Dogs and continue our work to help injured veterans. We have never worked with such a thoroughly professional organization. Every initiative shows great attention to detail. But the main impression that one gets is that all the SEGD staff, volunteers and donors feel they are part of a special family. I feel these qualities are a direct result of CEO Titus Herman's charismatic and visionary leadership. It is truly an honor to be part of this organization.
You only have to go one "graduation" to hear the stories/testimonials from the people who have received their special companion. It inspires me to volunteer every week because you know you are making a difference in someone's life. I work with puppies teaching them their basic manners and prepare them for their life of service. It is fun and rewarding and makes my week.
Went for a tour of the Southeastern Guide Dog facility in Palmetto, FL on Monday!!! What a wonderful facility!!! I took the Behind the Scenes tour which was led by Cathy M. The campus is under construction but we were able to see the puppies, the onsite clinic for the dogs, the gift shop and training rooms for the puppies. I watched a couple of the trainers working with dogs and training them on curbs. Much paitience and love was exibited by each of the trainers and the dogs looked eager to please. The facility is very clean and open with lots of smiling faces of volunteers and staff!!! I can't wait to go back again and hope I can volunterr there at some point!!!
Our story with this wonderful nonprofit began over 20 years ago when we ran into a couple who were puppy raiser volunteers at a football game in Texas. We were immediately intrigued with it all and began to make calls and do our research. Fast forward 6 months later and we were waiting to receive our first puppy to raise for SEGD! His name was Miles and he was half golden retriever and half labrador retriever--we call them goldadors at SEGD! That was the beginning of our 20 years of dedication at this point to SEGD. We are currently raising our 10th puppy -a yellow lab named Millie, we fundraise each year and participate in the Walkathon fundraiser they host and we donate directly to the building campaigns and various needs of the school since all of these trained wonderful dogs are given at no cost to those who are in need of them. In addition, my husband served on their Board of Directors for 10 years and was the Chairman as well for a portion of that. He has rotated off due to term limits not due to not wanting to continue to serve. All who know us know of our love for this organization and the work that they do and we are proud volunteers. We are supported by a great team in Puppy raising services there at the school and a network of raisers in our community and we support each other in various communities through our own Puppy Raising page on Facebook. The stories we hear from our graduates after they spend time on campus and with our dogs are so heartwarming and it is a volunteer job that truly makes you feel like you have become a part of a great big dog loving and people serving family. Of course we are asked how can we give these puppies back when their next phase is about to begin and we would lie if we said it was not hard. However, we love these puppies, we do not need them like those who apply to SEGD do and it is our reward to see the silly, wiggly puppy we once knew become a superhero to their new owners giving them independence and love all the way. If you are looking for a nonprofit to support with your time or your financial commitment you can look no further--SEGD is TopDog!
We have been involved with this organization for almost 20 years. We have raised nine puppies as volunteer puppy raisers, we fundraise -- participating in their annual Walkathon and other events. My husband has served on their Board of Directors for almost 10 years. You will never find a better nonprofit to be a part of--topnotch in so many ways!! From the top leadership to the dedicated workers in the kennels with the dogs there are so many people that shine in this organization. We will be involved for years to come!! (and hoping to pick up Puppy#10 in the next few months!)
I picked up my first Southeastern Guide Dog puppy on 03-17-18. Corty is a three month old yellow lab. SEGD did a great job in the picking up puppy experience and made each puppy raiser feel very important. I raised a guide dog puppy for another organization and they did not make us feel as welcome as SEGD did. I am looking forward to the next year with Corty and turning him back for his formal training.
My husband and I raised Shadow from about 10 weeks old. (We took him back for college in October - yes you can do that! It's hard, but SEGD does a magnificent job with the ceremony!) It's hard to find words to describe how gratifying it is to know that you are raising a beautiful superhero to be. And, at the same time, get constant puppy love. Your puppy will come with a manual - with plenty of detail. And you will have support of SEGD and your area "family" of puppy raisers.
My wife and I recently had the great pleasure of visiting the Southeastern Guide Dogs facility in Palmetto Fla. To say that we were impressed is an understatement. The facility is really a university for the " Superheroes" ( as these wonderful dogs are affectionately called). Along with 5 other visitors,we enjoyed a wonderful hour with a group of 8 week old puppies in "The Puppy Kindergaten Adventure"- my wife was in heaven. At about 10 weeks these puppies will go to puppy raiser families, where they will spend the next 15 months or so, before returning to university. It is here where they will go through the intensive training of becoming a guide dog for the blind, companion for a vet with PTSD or many other valuable services. Some, who do not "graduate" go on to be breeders. Another impressive service is that the new "patients" are house at the center while training with their new BFF. There is currently construction underway, which when complete, will house new traing and veterinary facilities. Non of this receives any government funding. All funding comes from private or corporate donations, in addition to about 135 on "staff" there are about 500 volunteers, making it all the more impressive. The Southeastern Guide Dogs facility is a "must see" for anyone living in or visiting the Bradenton/Sarasota area.
My daughter and I are about to turn in our second puppy to Southeastern Guide Dogs. We are puppy raisers and just want to encourage others to help out this amazing organization. We initially were drawn to Southeastern for puppy hugging. Imagine sitting on the floor of a room and somebody releasing a litter of eight-week-old puppies! Oh my goodness, we were smitten! After a session of plentiful puppy kisses, we knew we wanted to be a part of this. Yes, initially we were drawn in for the puppies but after learning about what Southeastern does to help veterans, my husband and I being veterans as well, we knew we wanted to help in any way we could. Over the last two years, we have seen the difference these dogs make in the lives of other military families. Southeastern does all of this at no cost to the families matched with these amazing dogs. When we take our pups out, the most frequent question is how can you give them up and that that person could never do it. If you choose to do so, you can fill out the paperwork ahead of time and the day your pup goes in for training, you can go home with another pup...that day! The pup you turned it will always be in your heart but puppy kisses help heal a sad heart! You'll receive updates on the pup and will be so excited to hear all that these pups accomplish. Then, when you finally hear how the pup is changing lives, you will be so proud. Thank you Southeastern for letting us be a part of this amazing process.
My name is Cathy. I recently “graduated” as a student being the handelar. I am Blind and have recently had an eye removed. I had lost my confidence for walking alone and had to have someone go with me. I love being outdoors and having to stay indoors more was really getting me down. Southeastern guide dogs trained me to be with my new dog companion. Their facility is beautiful and the food was awesome. The school provided and tended to all of my needs while the dog trainers trained me. That my friends was no easy task. The trainers were patient, knowledgeable, and tough on me at the same time. They brought the real world come alive when we went to the various cities for using and implementing what we practiced as far as crossing the street safely. The trainers taught and made us experience every facet of walking that they knew and to be confident and successful again in the real world setting. Their support services are awesome as well.
I encourage anyone whom is visually impaired to learn to be free again to visit the school. The are non profit and funds come by way of donations, fundraisers, and endowments.
I have had an opportunity to meet and work with some fantastic people and pups at SEGD! This organization takes their volunteers seriously, providing education and scheduled time to learn and serve in many capacities. I have volunteered for the Canine Assessment Ctr, Weekend Getaway Program, the Puppy Academy, and now as a breeder host. I love the organization’s mission and how they honor and and help their students as well as volunteers. Great organization made by great people!
My husband said "ok, we can get a dog." We are retired and love to travel internationally. That made having a dog difficult and seemed unfair to the dog. Then one day we were working the 2012 Presidential election. In walked a couple with an adorable puppy wearing a blue coat. They were volunteer puppy raisers, and the pup was from Southeastern Guide Dogs. They allowed us to pet the puppy and told us all about the program - including the fact that you keep a puppy for about a year. That was all it took.
We checked them out on Charity Navigator and visited the campus for a tour. After seeing the campus and hearing about the mission, plus petting puppies, we were hooked. We began attending meetings in our local community and, after reading the manual, handling puppies at meetings, and passing background checks and a home visit, we were allowed to begin sitting for puppies. We had them for a few hours, then overnight, a weekend, a week, and finally a month. They were black, brown, and yellow Labs, every one with a different personality. We felt ready, so we applied for our first guide dog. What a joy it is to raise a puppy for this organization. The level of support we receive is impressive - a manual, meetings, videos, plus a wealth of knowledge from other raisers - all from people dedicated to puppies with one goal of delivering well socialized dogs ready to learn how to become a guide dog or service dog.
Yes, you fall in love with them. Yes, it's hard to give them up. For us, seeing our first pup as a guide dog with his handler was so gratifying. Of course, we did it again - after a trip abroad. And now again for a third time - after another trip abroad. We've had a yellow, a black, and now another yellow Lab. They've all been different. They've all been fun. They've all been challenging and rewarding at the same time. Watching these pups grow into confident dogs ready for their next challenge is the reward for volunteers like us.