100 out of 10! Nov 2015 I graduated with Lou, my third guide dog, from SEGD. The program has grown so much since I first attended back in 2001. I thought it was great back then, but now it's like a 5 star vacation, with the world's best guide dog at your side! Private rooms, excellent food (not the place to come and lose weight), superior trainers, still led by Rick who was there when I went for my first guide dog. The grounds are well organized for all our training needs. The graduation program we had was over the top, Lou and I felt like celebrities!
I recently tested out Lou's training, by going on a trip that included 4 airplane fights, 2 hotels, 10 bus rides, a riverboat, with multiple distractions and new environments everyday. A real testament to SEGD was Lou did great! She handled the pressure and stress beautifully, I never bumped into a thing, or got hurt, I was able to negotiate the ship safely and all by myself, once she learned the route! SEGD has given me freedom of mobility with three dedicated guide dogs (DeeDee, Destinee, and now Lou)!
I got my Hairy dog from South Eastern on February 17th 2015! It was one of the most special days of my life!
They have a knowledgeable warm staff there! And my dog, Hairy is just the best Guide Dog, and more than I hoped for!
The food there was excellent as well! They spoiled us with such good food! And the cooking staff was very nice, too.
Hairy is my 3rd guide dog, my other 2 coming from a school in Michigan. I loved those dogs too of course, but my Hairy is something special. I guess they all have a place in your heart, a different place as they all have different personalities, but he's so well trained, loving, and just a smart boy! I'm blessed to have him, and it is thanks to South Eastern guide dogs that I do! I would totally recommend this school to any blind person seeking a guide dog!
Southeastern Guide Dogs is the place to go if you are blind or visually impaired. Put the cane in the closet, make an appointment and get ready for a 5 star experience. You will gain knowledge from the excellent trainers and school mates. All with different eye problems and some who are completely blind.
You will gain a newfound friend and buddy with your dog. They are amazing and so very smart. The training staff, the puppy raisers, the vet center all have a hand in making your best buddy your second set of eyes.
Do not stay at home and shut in. Grab your harness and tell your buddy where you want to go . After a few trips he will take you right there.
What a great experience. Email or pick up the phone and call Southeastern Guide Dogs.
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!
My life has forever been changed for the better! Southeastern Guide Dogs is an amazing place that goes out of their way to not just match you with your perfect partner, but to also make sure you are comfortable during your stay and made to feel like family! I have been so blessed by them and I'm truly thankful for all that they do!
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.
Read the blog that tells everything how happy I have been with my successor guide dog and the organization is outstanding for selecting one of the best match!
I have never expierenced an agency that is run as well as Southeastern Guide Dogs. Raising top notch guide dogs and matching them with a visually impaired person is their goal and they do it well. I was in class 232 in January of 2015 and have never been treated so well. I was very nerve routs about whether or not I would be able to learn to handle a guide dog. I t is way different from taking care of a pet. After 26 days I left with so much confidence because of the excellent training I received. Today my guide dog and I can do just about anything we want to. What freedom. Trust me this is one of the best organizations you will ever find.
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
Southeastern Guide Dog went over and beyond our expectations. My husband lost his eye sight over a year and a half ago, a very difficult situation for not only him but for the entire family. As my husband attended classes at the Lighthouse for the Blind I began to search for Guide Dogs. There was one facility as close as Mississippi and as far as California. While searching the internet for many reasons Southeastern Guide Dog caught my attention more than others. The facility looked very clean, organized, the puppy cam was amazing, the details of the training were well explained and I was quite impressed about the detailed screening of the person that was to receive the guide dog. The next thing I knew I was filling out the application on line. What seemed like forever, after the background check took place, a kind professional person called to schedule an at home interview. About a month later a person came from Florida and interviewed my husband, took him for a walk with a harness and leash to measure his speed, strength and height. She looked at the home, answered our questions, played with our 2 boxers and told us they would be back in touch with us. A short time after we decided to go to Florida to personally visit the grounds. We were received by the staff and they gave us the tour. They actually put a harness on one of the guide dogs and let my husband walk with him. They made my husband feel like there was nothing more important in the world than him. It was the best thing that happened to him since he lost his sight. We prayed every day that he would be accepted by Southeastern Guide Dog. One day we received the magic phone call and he was asked if he could attend the class that started in October...Are you kidding, the scream of joy and tears were unavoidable. The day we arrived he was greeted by 3 professional trainers that entered his luggage and showed him to his dorm and helped him unpack and get comfortable . Amazing, his dorm had a large private bath, tv, closet, night stands, a large bed and a desk. He said he felt like he was in a 5 star hotel. Southeastern provided absolutely everything even the guide dog he needed at no cost what so ever to us. We could not have had Lucy if there was a cost involved. A Chef prepared the meals for the students, my husband had 3 of the most professional, kind, loving,understanding trainers and staff with him at all times. His 26 days there were the hardest but the most important days of his life. He not only learned to become more self dependent they taught him to trust his Guide Dog Lucy 100%. They are one when she has her harness on. Southeastern Guide Dog will always be in our hearts. It is so hard to explain what it means to regain your independence, to have Lucy at my husbands side 24hours a day. I trust Lucy with my husbands life thanks to Southeastern Guide Dog. They have opened a whole new meaning in our lives. Southeastern Guide Dog is a true non profit organization that knows how to treat and understands the persons coming for their guide dog in a very professional, loving, understanding way.
I am visually impaired and I received my guide dog from Southeastern Guide Dogs a over five years ago. Their program is the best in the nation! The quality of the dogs they breed, the quality of their facility and staff, are truly amazing. I have traveled all over the world with my guide dog with confidence. They provide amazing graduate care and follow up after placement. This is a wonderful organization to support with your time and donations, please consider them in your non profit giving.
Southeastern Guide Dogs is second to none in professionalism, compassion, and customer service! They treat you like you're one of the family and are committed to making the client happy. I received my very first guide dog from Southeastern. In a world where quantity semms to be the mindset of most, Southeastern provides the quality that one only dreams of. The ehtire staff was friendly, eager to help, and happy to do so.
Everything aout Southeastern Guide Dogs is first class. From the day I arrived until the day I left, I was treated with the utmost respect. The experience gave me a new lease on life...in fact, it gave me back my life. Thank you Southastern Guide Dogs!
Review from CharityNavigator
SEGD came into my life approximately 6 years ago. I was a legally blind veteran with strong mobility skills using a cane. From the time of my discharge from active duty my VIST coordinator at the VA hospital plus my wife had recomended me to get a guide dog. I did not think I needed a guide dog even though I had been struck by an automobile, breaking my leg plus stuck on public transportation for 3 hours because the driver forgot that I was blind. I still was reluctant to take on the responsibility of a guide dog. I wasn't really sure how one could benefit me. After 5 years of incidence of people yelling at me because I tripped them sticking my cane out in front of me and the incidence like above I finally filled out an application for SEGD. With reservations I started class a resident program, I lovingly call "doggy boot camp". I was matched with a beautiful intelligent dog named VAN. The ease at which I navigate, public transportation, shopping malls, etc. is a remarkable change from transiting such places with the white cane. People immediately see and recognize Van as a working dog. The people at SEGD couldn't have done a better job matching me with Van. Even when graduate services had sent out an instructor to my home when Van injured himself and was unable to work for a few months, the instructor worked with Van and I and got our focus back in order. They are always there to answer questions and provide assistance when needed. I can not say enough about the staffs professionalism and the quality of the facilities that they have. I can think of no other organization that can increase a visually impaired person's quality of life in such a great fashion. This service being provided to me at absolutely no cost to myself. SEGD opperates strickly on donations accepting no government funds.
At 68 years old I was told that I was legally blind and would eventually be totally blind by my ophthalmologist. I am a registered professional civil engineer with a lot of experience in construction and was not looking forward to being a person who couldn't perform every day activities. i signed up for a course at the local Manasota Lighthouse which exposed me to every day living skills for people with low vision or blindness. In that course I was exposed to many different agencies available to me and activities available to me to learn things to be active for the rest of my life. One of these agencies was Southeastern Guide Dogs. In this learning process I found that even though I had some vision left now was the time to apply for and obtain a guide dog who could help me find my way from one place to another safely. I set a goal to explore this and researched guide dog schools all over the United States. I found that I lived within 15 minutes of one of the best guide dog schools in the country, Southeastern Guide Dogs. I toured the campus, asked questions and was told that even though I had some vision I was entitled to a guide dog and if I desired one I should sign up to obtain one. I did this, attended the course, and received my first guide dog one year after I was found legally blind. During this course I was trained and treated with respect and dignity and was taught what the dog knew so that I could use the services of the dog intelligently and capably. Since that time we (the dog and I) have become completely bonded and work as team as we were trained by the trainers through this course. Since Graduation I have had occasion to use Graduate Services 2 times, each time they were ready, willing and able to travel to my site to assist me with training techniques to solve my problems. Again, always with dignity. Based on my experiences I would highly recommend Southeastern Guide Dogs as one of the, if not the, premier guide dog school in the United States.
Review from Guidestar
SEGD gave me back my ZEAL for Life with ANGEL,my guidedog. I am one active lady with her. She and I have gone across the USA speaking to other wounded warriors who are Blind to get their butts back out and be the solution and not the problem in solving the needs for us veterans. I was given the best care my 26 days, that I was telling my partner I wanted to bring home the Chef and staff. I learn and grew so much in the short stay. After my first week I cried so much, I didn't realize how much I needed the TLC and Angel until that day. This is the school for anyone needing a Guide or Service Dog.
Very simply, I have never felt more cared for and respected as I did at SEGDI! My first guide dog is ready to retire, and I am going back to SEGDI in 3 weeks to train with her successor dog. This organization is so true to their Mission Statement. Harvard Business School should take a lesson from them!
On a warm afternoon, 2008, I entered the front door of an unfamiliar building where I would spend nearly a month in training with my first dog from Southeastern Guide Dogs. Through the years, each of my six other dogs had played an important part in my life, leading me to and from work, helping me walk to stores and parks with my three children, and accompanying me through air ports and train stations. These dogs had helped me navigate street crossings and locate curbs and stairs, find doors, and make my way into banks and restaurants. Even after the children grew up and moved out, I depended on a dog to help me get around. But in March, I was nervous. I knew what to expect from a guide dog, but I had no idea what to expect from Southeastern. What an incredible experience! The trainers really knew their stuff. They handled the dogs with expertise, skill and love. They also worked patiently with each student, giving clear instructions and making themselves available to answer our questions. The rest of the staff were equally as helpful and accommodating. They did their best to make us feel comfortable in our temporary home away from home. I respect the trainers at Southeastern for hours of dedication, teaching dogs over 40 commands. And I am deeply grateful to the puppy raisers, who provide the basic foundation upon which the rest of the training is built. Southeastern Guide Dogs offers an excellent opportunity for blind and visually impaired individuals, like myself, to get the most out of life, with freedom and independence.
I LOVE THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE OF BEING A GUIDE DOG USER. SOUTHEASTERN GIVES US A PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION IN USING A GUIDE DOG AND AT THE SAME TIME THEY MAKE YOU A PART OF THE "FAMILY OF SOUTHEASTERN". THE ATMOSPHERE FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR DOG IS THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY. I AM VERY PROUD TO BELONG TO THE SOUTHEASTERN EXPERIENCE. I HAVE MY SECOND DOG NOW AND PLAN TO ENJOY MANY YEARS ENJOYING THIS WONDERFUL GIFT. THANKS TO THE GREAT STAFF OF SOUTHEASTERN. GLORIA MARRYATT
From my perspective as a client and new guide dog user, I can only say that Southeastern Guide Dogs runs a facility that is wonderful. Their mission to provide highly trained guide dogs to visually impaired individuals at no cost to them is met and exceeded in every way. The facility itself is lovely; the trainers are first rate and the entire staff is warm, friendly and helpful. That they do this with only private donations and an army of generous volunteers is impressive beyond words. The beautiful dog that is now my constant companion has opened up my world again to the extent that I'm only sorry I didn't do this years earlier. To sum up, I simply can't say enough good things about Southeastern Guide Dogs; the facility, program and people.