Hundreds of puppies looking for local mentors - We Save Dogs Life

Hundreds of puppies looking for local mentors

With approximately 250 puppies born in the spring, Southeastern Guide Dogs is looking for puppy raisers to help with the next generation of service and guide dogs.
Those chosen individuals or families will spend a year helping the pups get acquainted with the world while learning basic house and obedience rules before the dogs return to the organization’s Palmetto campus for further training.
The puppies are matched with raisers once they reach 10 weeks old. Joanne Moore, a placement specialist for Southeastern Guide Dogs, helps bring the two parties together.
“It’s challenging because we always need puppy raisers,” Moore said. “But once I’ve placed a family with a puppy that’s going to fit their lifestyle, it’s absolutely joyful.
“Bringing them their puppy is exciting, people are crying, they’re happy and it’s great.”

Moore will bring the people in and give them a training course on how to teach the puppies the basic commands before introducing the two. There are also area coordinators who can help when raisers have questions.

Moore assesses the puppies at the 5 and 8 week mark, watching carefully for the confidence and energy the puppy has, so she knows where they will fit best among raisers.
Potential raisers attend classes before Moore receives an assessment to let her know about the lifestyle of the individual or family.
“It tells me about their living arrangements and if there’s children or pets already in the home,” she said. “Is it a calm, quiet lifestyle or is there going to be a lot of noise? I’m really going to look at the pups personality and say, ‘does this puppy match this person’s lifestyle?’”
Southeastern Guide Dogs uses a hand-picked breeder colony of Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and goldadors, a mix of the two that dates back five generations.
After the dogs return to the campus they’re trained based on what service they’ll be providing.
Those trained to be guide dogs will learn 40 commands, compared to 20 for service dogs.
Besides providing help for those suffering from vision loss, the dogs can help veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, children in adverse circumstances or be situated in military medical facilities to provide comfort.
Since 1982, Southeastern Guide Dogs has created more than 3,100 guide and service dog teams with an average of about 150 per year. There’s no cost to the people who receive a dog from the organization.
Despite a $11.4 million annual operating budget, Southeastern Guide Dogs receives no government funding and relies purely on donations and gifts. According to Moore, puppies aren’t named when they’re born. People can sponsor, and name, a puppy by donating $5,000.

The organization relies on more than 750 volunteers across seven states.
After completing two years of training, there’s a graduation ceremony where raisers see the dogs “forever person” and meet with them. Moore said even though raisers have a hard time saying goodbye, they know the puppy has a higher purpose.

“People realize the mission and impact the dogs are going to have on someone’s life,” she said.

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