Guide Dog Committee

Was appointed in the fall of 2002 with the goal to encourage our residents to volunteer their time to work with the “Puppies” and “Adult Dogs” at the kennels.

To donate needed expendable supplies to be used for the betterment of the dogs and students. A “Special Christmas Gift” collection is scheduled in mid-December.

SEGDI receives NO government funding and rely on donations from individuals, bequests, foundations, service groups, corporations and fundraising events.

Each February, the committee will sponsor a “Raffle Ticket” sale with all proceeds to go to SEGDI. Raffle prizes are drawn at the annual SEGDI “Walkathon” in March. KGC residents may participate in the “Walkathon”. With our Raffle donations we are given the opportunity to “NAME A PUPPY”. Our first dog will be named “DUKE”

We encourage all KGC residents to participate in this program. Contact us for any information about SEGDI or refer to the website:

-- “Nip” and Jackie Barker, Committee Chairpersons

Guide Dogs Duke Visits KGC, Fall 2005
Guide Dogs Duke Visits KGC, May 2005
Guide Dogs Early Pictures of Duke

Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc.
Palmetto, Florida

Southeastern Guide Dogs’ mission is to offer free of charge, a unique opportunity to achieve independent travel with safety and dignity to blind men and women, through the use of professionally and humanely trained guide dogs.

A Higher Level of Independence – The steps required to graduate a successful guide dog team require an average of 21 intensive months. Our commitment to the student lasts a lifetime.

The Beginning - Puppies are selectively bred for optimum guide dog characteristics, and then placed with foster families for 12 to 16 months. Foster families provide socialization and basic training. The pups receive medical care at Southeastern’s expense and are under close staff supervision.

Preparing to Guide – Upon returning to Southeastern, guide dog candidates enter a strict selection process. Professional instructors and future guide dogs train together for 4 to 6 months. During this time the dogs learn over forty commands, plus intelligent disobedience

The Partnership - Once the dogs are fully trained they are matched with blind recipients in the 26-day training program. Besides learning commands, an important bond of trust, love and devotion forms. This mutual bond is vital to the success of any guide dog team.

Graduate Follow-Up - Southeastern provides in-home assistance to graduates. Follow-up visits occur yearly or as often as necessary. Southeastern has graduated over 2,000 guide dog teams and maintains follow-up contact nationwide.

Lifetime Commitment - Every Southeastern graduate leaves with a promise that they will be provided with a guide dog that meets their changing needs throughout their life. Most guide dog users require three or four guide dogs during their lifetime.

Volunteer Overview - Among Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc.’s (SEGDI) greatest strengths is our dedicated team of volunteers. In both the training kennel and puppy kennel, volunteers work regularly with staff members to exercise and play with our dogs, as well as to expose them to new people and situations. Volunteers come to the main kennel between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. on Monday, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays to leash walk, groom, and spend time with our future guides. Summer and holiday hours vary so please call first. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., "puppy huggers" come to play with, leash walk and cuddle our six to nine week old puppies in the breeding and puppy kennel.

Puppy Raisers - This is where it all begins. A guide dog’s training starts as a young puppy. Armed with training materials and support from Southeastern, dedicated volunteer families give our specially bred puppies the foundation required for formal guide dog training.

The raisers are responsible for the puppy’s care, safety, and behavior in the home and out in public, as well as basic obedience skills. Puppy Raisers are financially responsible for the puppy’s food, flea and tick prevention, and commit to bimonthly meetings with an Area Coordinator or other school representative.

Our puppy raisers are the most amazing people. Each family opens their home and hearts to a little puppy, raising it with lots of love and special training, so the puppy can go to doggie college where it learns to guide and eventually, change a blind person’s life. Raising a guide dog puppy is truly an unforgettable experience.

Meeting A Blind Person and Their Guide Dog - Guide Dogs are considered to be “on duty” when wearing their harness. It is a natural impulse for most people to want to stop and pet a guide dog, but the guide dog should not be petted or disrupted while working. An attempt to pet a guide dog in harness can distract the dog from its job, placing the owner’s safety in jeopardy. When a guide dog is out of harness, permission should always be asked before reaching to touch or pet a guide dog.

Do not offer food or treats to a guide dog. This can be distracting, and the handlers carefully monitor their guide dogs’ diet. A guide dog is able to do its job most efficiently when a recommended diet is followed. Calling out the dog’s name or making distracting noises can break a guide dog’s concentration and ability to work. Guide dogs are friendly and they will want to respond to the attention you are giving them, but please remember they are working as a blind person’s eyes.

What Makes a Great Guide Dog? - The combination of selective breeding, conditioning, specialized training and T.L.C. makes a successful guide dog. Physically the dog must be healthy, of good working size, and easily maintained. Temperamentally a guide must show a willingness to work, be confident, tolerant, not shy or frightened in any situation, non-aggressive, adaptable to change, have initiative, and the ability to concentrate.

IMPACT (Inmates Providing Animal Care and Training) The idea of an IMPACT program originated from Dr. Thomas Lane of the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. A proposal was made to the State of Florida, Department of Corrections asking the state to allow inmates at the minimum security Work Camp in Gainesville to participate in Southeastern’s Puppy Raiser Program. They arranged for kennels to be placed on the grounds of the Work Camp and screened potential participants. All the puppies were official guide dog pups and were expected to learn manners, basic obedience and receive daily care and plenty of love from the inmates. Through this program both the inmates and the puppies learned the power of positive stimuli. This program was an instant win-win for puppies and inmates alike. Our puppies received seemingly unlimited attention and care from the inmates while the inmates themselves had something of real value to give back. Many of the inmate’s lives were transformed from their experience in the IMPACT program. This program has expanded to other Correctional Facilities with great success for both Southeastern Guide Dogs and inmates who have participated.

Southeastern Guide Dogs, Inc.
4210 77th Street East
Palmetto, Florida 34221
Phone: 941-729-5665

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