Southeastern Guide Dogs opens its campus five days a week for volunteer puppy huggers and dog walkers, but this Saturday, May 12, is a great opportunity to learn all about Southeastern and their superb dogs because it is open house.
How is open house different from any other time you can come to the Palmetto campus? There are a number of activities happening this Saturday that don’t normally occur. Volunteers will be leading guided tours, filling guests in on the history and inner workings of Southeastern.
While readers of this column have gotten an inside look at what Southeastern does, the tour will give you a chance to see the training grounds and kennels for yourself. You’ll also get the chance to interact with the adorable bundles of velvety fur in the puppy kennel and the uber-intelligent dogs-in-training in the training kennel.
The other exciting opportunity at open house is the chance to walk in a visually impaired person’s shoes. OK, not literally their shoes, but certainly their footsteps. You will be given blacked-out sunglasses, some short instructions from the trainers, a harness handle attached to a trained guide and off you go on your blindfold walk.
The guide dog will do its job of keeping you firmly in the center of the path while you tentatively walk along the Freedom Trail – the same path Southeastern’s students take early in their training.
Once you have experienced what it is like to trust a guide dog with your safe travel, you’ll have the opportunity to speak with some of the graduates of Southeastern’s programs who will be on hand to answer questions about living and traveling with a guide dog.
After the tour, blindfold walk and chatting with the graduates, you probably will have worked up a hunger, so head over to the grill and get one of Chef Rob’s hot dogs or a piece of celebratory 30th anniversary cake, or both!
We hope you will make your way to Palmetto this weekend and check out the campus. Oh, and did I mention there will be puppies?
Southeastern Guide Dogs Open House
Saturday, May 12, 2012
9 a.m. – Noon
4210 77th Street East, Palmetto, FL
All ages are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Admission is free, but donations are always welcome.