Southern Guide Dogs, "Paws For Patriots"
I attended a fund raising event for Paws For Patriots which a good Friend is involved in.
A breakfast at the Vinoy on 9.1.1 Annivsary
We were in a room full of very incredible humans and dogs who give freely of their time in order to help the disabled. Beside me was "Bruce" a large black lab who was in training. Bruce was quite the charmer and still learning his manners at the breakfast table, I almost lost my quiche to him several times!
Throughout the morning I listened to veterans who have served our country, telling their stories. How they had overcome many of the obstacles with the help of a guide dog. They had gotten back much of the independence they had lost, and had a built in lifelong friend to boot!
I also met "Melisa and Duke" , Melisa was raising Duke to be a Guide Dog, she had gotten him at 8 weeks old from a donated litter of yellow labs. We spoke about "Duke"; Duke's career was going to be a "Therapy Dog", he would help,and provide therapy within Nursing homes, Assisted Living Facilities,and Schools. Melisa explained that as the dogs go through trainings and mature there are dogs that are suitable for "Guide Dogs" and other become "Therapy Dogs." We agreed to stay in touch as Duke was getting ready to graduate and could start doing visits.
Duke and Melisa came to the facility on Veterans Day and visited our residents, and the cat "yikes", and the squirrels, "yikes"! Needless to say it was humorous and heartfelt to watch. I could not determine if Melisa was walking Duke or the other way around but, the Duo were bringing true "Feel Good Therapy" into our home. Our residents had found a new friend, A tail waggin',Hand Shakin', kisses, for all, friend.
I also got the opportunity to learn more about this organization; The volunteers raise the pups from 8 weeks, they are responsible to train them, they attend training sessions at the school, and they must socialize them. I realized while speaking with Melisa what a huge commitment this was for these volunteers. The most heartfelt part for the volunteers;somewhere around two years old, the "Guide Dogs in Training" are matched with their new owner. The volunteers that have raised these wonderful dogs must say good bye to their friend. Melisa said "it is a day filled with mixed emotions, a time of joy and sorrow, an ending and a beginning
I asked about "Bruce" he has graduated and is becoming a Guide Dog. One evidently who will favor quiche!
Southern Guide Dogs and Paws for Patriots receive no federal funding.They depend on fund raisers, donations ,and wonderful volunteers.Read more about this Organization Southern Guide Dogs