I have been a volunteer puppy raiser for the past 5 years and absolutely love this organization!
I am a puppy raiser and volunteer for Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc. Southeastern Guide Dogs most definitely is very appreciative of the work I do for them; they never miss an opportunity to say "Thank you". Additionally, the organization is always striving to improve and is very professional; communication is excellent.
My family and I have volunteered for Southeastern Guide Dogs for the past 14 years -as puppy raisers, puppy campers, breeder host and as a local Area Coordinator. Being able to raise and train a future guide dog that will give someone who don't know yet freedom and dignity is priceless.
Southeastern Guide Dogs is so totally commited to its true purpose of bringing freedom to individuals with impaired sight. The entire facility is devoted to the care and training of guide dogs. Every staff member has but one purpose, to further the ability of the school to make an individual's life better. When you speak to the individuals that recieve the service dogs you get the sense that a part of their life has been restored. The dogs are amazing also. From the time they are whelped until they are placed with an individual, they are loved and it shows in their expressions. When these dogs become part of a team it is clear that they are more than willing to work for their handler. it is easy to understand the impact this school has when an individual looks at you and says "I was able to walk into Starbuck's today, alone,and buy my own cup of coffee without relying on someone else to take me." What a simple pleasure to be so important. The freedom is priceless.
We are volunteer puppy raiser for Southeastern Guidedogs. We get the puppies at 9 weeks and keep them for about 1 year. In that year we take the puppies with us EVERYWHERE we go, from the grocery store, restaurants to going to the dentist. Anywhere a blind person might go... When a blind person gets matched with a dog, it is life-changing. It gives the blind person the freedom to go places on their own and have independence and dignity. One of our friends told us after she received her Guide dog that she was able to use a public restroom on her own for the first time since she had lost her sight. She told us that it gave her dignity back. How do you put a price on that? Our first dog had an injury and didn't make it to be a Guide dog but she was trained to be a Bomb/Arson dog instead. She 'reports' to the fire station in Orlando Florida, protecting people like you and me. Our 2nd dog we raised was chosen to be a Veteran Service dog for someone that served our country and returns from the war front suffering from PTSD. She will be a life-saving gift for someone who suffered this 'hidden wound' fighting for our freedoms. We are about half-way into raising our third dog. People often ask us how we give can give up a dog we have bonded with for the past year. And we answer; how can we not? It is a gift that we give to someone whose needs are more important than our wants. This would not be possible without Southeastern Guide dogs. We are grateful for what they do and are proud to part of that mission to assist others. And these gifts are always free to the recipient, thanks to generous individuals who share our passion to help others.
After retiring from my job as a professor of Public Health Nursing, followed by 5 years as a full-timer in a motor home, I found my days a bit empty. By chance, I learned that a college classmate did some volunteer work with an organization that trains dogs to become guides for visually impaired people. Animals are the passion of my life and dogs rank at the top of my list, so I immediately got in touch with Southeastern Guide Dogs and became a volunteer. I started out playing with adorable puppies ranging in age from 6 to 9 weeks. Soon I wanted to become a puppy raiser. After the necessary criteria were met, I was thrilled to be allowed to take home and help train a beautiful Goldador. When he did not make it as a guide dog due to a mild medical issue, I was offered the opportunity of keeping him and getting him trained as a therapy dog and Ambassador for the school. Natually I was eager to take on this privilege. I still volunteer in the puppy kennel, showing visitors how to behave and play with the irrisistible puppies. Now my dog & I also visit patients in hospitals and nursing homes. What joy it brings to these people--maybe almost as much as it brings to me when I see their faces light up. Another wonderful opportunity I have as part of a therapy team is going into a school where third graders get to read to dogs. Data collected around the US shows that this program does help children improve their reading skills. I'm very happy to know that I'm doing some good while I have an enormous amount of fun!
Having had a friend who was visually impaired, coupled with my love of dogs, becoming a Puppy Raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc. was a no brainer! Southeastern Guide Dogs are located in Manatee Co., Florida. SEGD is a not-for-profit organization and receives no federal or state funds. It provides dogs and training to blind individuals, at no cost to them. The school relies solely on donations, I am so proud of being a part of this fantastic organization! As a first time Puppy Raiser the guide dog that I raised, recently graduated. I had the opportunity to meet the gentleman that received him, he was overwhelmed with gratitude at the thought of regaining his independence, never being alone again, and knowing his guide would keep him safe. I came away from this special meeting knowing that I was part of a truly wonderful organization, and that together we made a difference in this man's life! Would I do it again you ask? .....In a heartbeat!
My husband and I have raised three guide dog puppies for Southeastern Guide Dogs and are currently raising our fourth (http://mcleanpup.blogspot.com/), Coach. Southeastern has always been a great organization, but I think that in the last couple of years they have really upped their game. They have made amazing strides in communications with volunteers, with volunteer publications and videos, and with the puppy raising program. They have really improved the training program for their area coordinators so that flows down to the puppy raisers. Area coordinators now have two different training weekends that they go to in order to become ACs. They have also instituted a puppy raiser weekend. I missed it, but would love for them to have another. It was where they explained a lot of what was going on at Southeastern and helped you to be a better puppy raiser. I'm hoping they have it again. They have made it easier and more fun to be a puppy raiser for Southeastern. And with the amazing marketing campaign that they have going on, you are always proud to be walking with your dog in his/her blue coat out in public spreading the word about Southeastern and the good work they are doing. For example, they have updated the volunteer manual, they have created specific training videos for learning difficult commands, they have created a trainer run facebook group just for puppy raiser where we can post questions and get immediate (or nearly so) feedback on what is going on with our puppy, they created an IFT (in for training) day that made taking your puppy back into a celebration instead of a traumatic event. It was so lovely. My contructive criticism is that I wish they were a little more cognizant of working volunteers. Sometimes things are only done Mon-Fri 8-5 and most puppy raisers work and don't have the freedom to take off. Having a late day or a weekend day option would be awesome.
Southeastern Guide Dogs is an amazing organization. They not only provide "eyes" for visually impaired people, they provide a friend and with that friend comes a life time of extraordinary support and care. They not only provide Guide dogs, they provide the opportunity for volunteers to become part of the Southeastern Guide Dog family.
I am a puppy raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs. I have raised 5 puppies for the program. So far, 2 are working with visually impaired, 1 is working for a police department, and 1 is still in training. Being involved with the program has allowed me to single-handedly "change a life." I love the fact that my selfless act of raising a puppy for a year will change someone else's life for 10 years or more. The school itself provides wonderful support both from the school and the field volunteers. I can NOT imagine my life without Southeastern Guide Dogs and PUPPIES PUPPIES PUPPIES! I will volunteer for them as long as I am physically able.
I am a "puppy socializer' for Southeastern Guide Dogs. I really question who benefits more, the pups or me. Think about what it means to work with a litter of pups from 6 weeks until they are placed with a loving family. I've been with them from "all I want to do is flop" to "lets move out". I'm now in the process of working with Southeastern Guide Dogs to become an Ambassador. This is an opportunity unique to my needs and clearly demonstrates the flexibility of Southeastern Guide Dogs. . I also spend time at the VA-Bay Pines with a friend and his therapy dog-Starr. Given a one organization choice, as they say on TV in this area, "I'm going to the dogs".