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SARASOTAMAGAZINEGUIDETOGIVING20141GuidetoGivinGSuperDogStothereScueHwalcalprfprcssmfhwrlsbsggs.418greatcauSeSFallSFaShionMuSt-BuyShopechangetoMatoeSASArASotAcoAlitionbringSjuSticetothefieldS 2SARASOTAMAGAZINEGUIDETOGIVING2014toonaeorgeinvolvewihSouheasernGuiedogsvisiguieogs.orgorcall941729-5665.ANewBreedofSUPERHEROAPalmettononprotisnowproducingsomeofthebestguidedogsonearth.AdamDaviessniffsoutthestory.kimlongstreeDogstreetPetPhotograPhyt SARASOTAMAGAZINEGUIDETOGIVING20143amsittinguncomortablyinanun-air-conditionedbuildingonaremote35-acrecampusinPalmettoinacircleo20otherpeople.Weallhaveaneagerportentouslookwecouldbehereorayogaretreatoracultsbondingexerciseormaybearoundomixed-agehokeypokeybutwearenot.Werehereorsomethingrarerandmuchmorethrilling.Temotleycrewelderlypeopleparentshighschoolersonebemusedwriterandkidsgalorearealluniedinadrenalizedexcitement.oexpressitintheemotionalmathematicsothemanygoggle-eyedchildrenintheroomthegiddyanticipa-toryvibeislikeChristmasmorningtimesDisneyWorldtimeseverybirthdayweveeverhadandthenjustwhenitseemslikenoonecanstanditoronemoresecondadooriesopensandthemadcapbum-blingdowny-sofpuppiesrushin.Whatensuesisanabsolutebacchanaloacelickingtailwagginglapboundingandall-aroundgambolingandmerriment.Tepuppiesonlysixweeksoldrolicwitheachothernibbleonngersattackshoelacespeeexultantlyinunexpectedplacesandgetcuddledembracedtick-lednuzzledbabytalkedandadored.AyellowLabslathersalittleblondgirlintouncontrollablegiggles.AblackLabbitingdownonalengthobraidedropeplaystugowarwithalittleboy.Treeotherpuppiesgetarunningstartandstampedeacrosstheroomuntiltheyslidesplay-leggedintomylap.Andinthecorneroneindependent-mindedellowgnawsontheplasticsheetingaroundoneothebenchslegsthathasalreadybeenchewedsoofenandsoardentlythatitisalmostcompletelydegloved.Tisjamboreeisntapromotionbyapetshoporabreeder.Tesedogsarentorsale.Teyarentvampingoradoption.Andalthoughyoucantakeonehomewithyouoraweekendmoreonthatsoonnoneothesedogswilleverbeownedbyanyoneinthisroomorthesearenotnormalpuppies.TeseyoungLabsandgoldenretrieversandmixesaregeneticallyelitetheyareelecttheyareatedorgreatness.Teyhavebeenbredinastate-o-the-artcaninelaboratorytobethehealthiestmostintelligentmostloyalmostpatientmostsuper-heroicdogsanywhereinthiscountry.AfertwoyearsohighlyspecializedtrainingtheywillbecomegraduatesoSoutheasternGuideDogsandtheywillspendeverydayuntiltheirretirementhelpingpeopleromthevisuallyim-pairedtoveteranstotheelderlyorinjuredordepressedwiththemostimportantoalltasksrecoveringtheirlives.IASSEENIN ItsimpossibletocalculatethenumberolivesthatSoutheasternhasimprovedorevensavedbutherearesomeactoidsthatillustratethescopeotheirphilanthropiceortsEachoneothesedogscostsroughly60000toproducetheirtrainingisasophisticatedtwo-yearprocessthatre-quirestheexertionsotrainersscientistsmedicalstacaretakersandvolunteersapplicantstobecomehandlerswhocomeromall48contiguousstatesarethor-oughlyscreenedbyadmissionsofcersandthosewhoareapprovedareassistedbyamatchmakingservicethatincludesindividualin-housevisitstodeterminewhatkindodogwouldbestttheirlie-styletemperamentandphysicalneedsthesestudenthandlersthencometothecampusinPalmettoora26-daytrainingcoursewiththedogwhohasbeenspeci-callymatchedtothemandiagraduatehandlerhasaproblemoanykindwithaguidedogsomeoneromSoutheasternwillyouttotheirhomeandhelpbothdogandhandlerworkthroughit.TecosttothedogshandlerorallothiscareandtrainingAmind-bogglingzerodollars.Happilywithnearly25millionintotalassetsSoutheasternGuideDogscanaordit.Butastonishinglythatmoneyhasbeenaccruednotbyanykindogrant-writingorgovernmentalaidbutentirelybydonations.TesecrettotheirundraisingSilver-mansaysisthatpeopleliketodonatetoprogramsthatarenanciallysolidandthataccomplishrealandtangiblesuccess.Wellthathesaysandthis.Tenheholdsupabrochurewithapic-tureoabeaticgoldenretrieverpuppy.AndSilvermanisnotkidding.Tesedogsaresoirresistiblethatsometimesjustanimageooneissufcienttopryundslooseromdonorswhowerenteventhinkingaboutdonating.AewyearsagoSoutheasternGuideDogsisthebrainchildofDr.HarrisSilvermanandRobertMillerwhoco-oundedthenonprotin1982.Sincethentheorgani-zationhasmatchedmorethan2800dogswithvisuallyimpairedhandlersbringingthemreedommobilityanddignitytheycouldotherwiseneverhaveknown.Andstartingin2006itsPawsorPatriotsinitiativehasplacedservicedogswithveteranswithvisualimpairmentsorPSDandbroughtdogstohelpveteransinmilitarybasesandhospitalssuchasWalterReedQuanticoandCampLejeune.Eachdogcostsabout60000toproduceandtheirtrainingisasophisticatedtwo-yearprocessthatrequirestheexertionsoftrainersscientistsmedicalstaffcaretakersandvolunteers.PhotosbyJenniferVare orexampleIsaacBarpalanengineerwhodevelopedoneothersthybridelectricvehiclesandwasinstrumentalinthecreationoSanFranciscosBARtransitsystemwasridinghismotorcycledownthehighwaywhenhesawapuppyonabillboardpromotingSoutheastern.Charmedandcurioushepulledotheroadcheckedoutthecampusandsuitablyimpressedheoeredbangjustlikethatwiththewhy-notcapriceoamanmakingadetourtopickupagallonomilkatthestoretopayviamatchingundsorastate-o-the-artveterinarycenter.Openedin2013the1.75millionMar-garetandIsaacBarpalVeterinaryCenterisa6000-square-ootmedicalXanaduchock-ullocutting-edgetechnology.TereisanexaminationroomwithtablesonhydrauliclisanophthalmologylabageneticsandreproductionproceduresroomcompletewithcryogenicstoragepreservingliterallymillionsodollarsworthodoggieDNAmaleandemalebreederwardsatreatmentrecoveryICUcenteraquarantineroomwithaspecialventilationsystemtoprovidenegativeairpressuresonocontaminantsorgermscanescapeasurgicalcenterwithpositiveairpressureortheoppositereasonandacanineloungethatunctionsasalovemotelordogswhoareslatedtoprocreateaunaturel.Tisparticularroomiskeptdirtyuncleanedorthreedaysaercopulationssoastocreatetheaphro-disiacalunkthatencouragesdogstomatebutotherwisethewholeplaceischaracterizedbygleamingApplecomput-erspoutyelegantorchidsleathercouchesandglossypolishedsuracesproducingaeelingmuchlesslikeaveterinarycenterthanaconcierge-grademedi-spa.Terestothecampusgivesadividedimpressionhowever.Someothebuild-ingslikethestudentdormsandthepuppycenterandtheCEOsofcewhichisintheormerkitchenoahouseareagingandinneedoreurbishmentorreplacingothersliketheKeithG.HirstCanineAssessmentCenterarebrand-newandpurpose-built.Butwhereveryougotheattitudeisoneoocusanddisciplineandactivity.Stainsportybluepoloshirtsstridepurposeullyaboutvolunteersavidlywalkdogsonmartingaleleashestourgroupsgobyindelightedurriesandeverywhereyoulookaredogs.Quiteaewothe110employeesbringtheirownpetstoworkandiyoucombinethemwithSoutheasternsofcialwardstherecanbeasmanyas200dogsoncampusatonetimeyetsomehowtheyareneverunderoot.AndstrangelytheyproducestvtD.kvCdchcldtvPyy.opptgtctrchlgldplctwtctthtwlltdthcypvttutudthw1.75llmtdicbplVtyCt.JenniferVare almostnonoise.YoudexpecttheplacetobeaTunderdomeobarkingandhowlingandhumpingbutthatisnotthecase.ruethedogschorusabitateedingtimeandinthepuppycenteryoullhearsomeplayulyippingbutiyouweretogathertogether200humanteenagersand200dogsandmeasuretheirmannerswithadecibelmeterthesedogswouldwinpawsdown.HowdoesSoutheasterndoitHowdotheytakeanimalsrenownedorbehaviorthatincludesdiningupontheirowneceschewingsupposedlyunchewableobjectsandleg-humpingguestsatdinnerpartiesandturnthemintosuchgentlemanlysquiresAccordingtoCEOitusHer-manonepartotheanswerissimplyitsemployeesandvolunteers.Wejusthavethebestpeoplehesays.HecouldbereerringtoRachelGold-ammerageneticistwhoinonlysixyearsoselectivebreedinghasreducedtherateohipdysplasiaromanaverageo50percenttoastartlingnearlymiraculous3percentanddecreasedtheaveragepuppymortalityraterom15percentthreeyearsagoto1.5percent.TenthereisKarenMersereauwhoassessesthedogsaertheycomebackromtheirpuppyraisersvolunteerswhotakethepup-piesintotheirhomestoteachthembasicmannersandtrusttodecidethekindoworkorwhichadogwillbebestsuited.OrperhapsSuzyWilburnwholostmostohervisionaershewasdiagnosedwithStargardtdiseaseatage27andwhoworksnowalongsideherSoutheasternguidedogCarsonastheheadoadmissionsandgraduateservicesdecidingwhichapplicantsarebestsuitedordogowner-ship.About40percentoapplicantsareaccepted.OrperhapsJacquiGarveywhobeinginchargeothepuppiesrombirthuntil10weeksoldmightjusthaveandthisisnothyperbolethebestjobintheentireworld.Buttheworkersheredespitetheirdedi-cationandboundlessenthusiasmareonlyhalthestory.Teotherpartocourseisthedogsremarkabletraining.Overits32yearsSoutheasternstrainingregimenhasevolvedintoanexactingsystemthatrecallsinmanywaysthetrainingoSpartanboys.Fromthehighlyadvancedgeneticsciencethatgoesintobreedingeverydogtothemeticuloustrainingtheseanimalsareliterallymadeortheirjobs.Teirtrainingbeginsonlythreedaysaerbirth.Teylearntotrustthepeoplewhoeedandhandlethem.Teymustaccustomthemselvestonoisesvarioussuracesandenvironmentsanddistractions.Teyareencouragedtoinvestigatetheunknown.Teyareassessedorper-sistencewillapuppydisengagewithaood-stuedkongtoengagewithahumanandpatiencewillitstillengagewithahumanaerbeingignoredor15secondsandresilienceisitunrufedbyamotorizedsnowmanthatsingsanannoyingtuneandsocialinteractionwillitgreetabreedodogithasneverseenbeore.Intheirquartersandplaypenstheyhavetoysdanglingoverheadtoencouragethemtoseethingsromahumanperspectivesotheycanbeawareolow-hangingbranchesorotherimpedimentsthatmightposeariskortheirhandlersandtheyareroutinelyconrontedwithstartlingobjectsthattheylearntounderstandornegotiatesuchasmirrorsandsuracesodierenttexturesandteeter-tottersandledgeswithdrop-PhotosbyJenniferVare SARASOTAMAGAZINEGUIDETOGIVING20147os.Tenocoursethereisthatpuppyhuggingtohelpsocializethepuppies.Aeronly10weekstheyareabletositgodownandwalkmoreorlesscoop-erativelyonaleashandtheyaregivennamesanhonoravailabletoanysponsorwillingtopartwith5000.Tentheyaresentouttolivewiththeirpuppyraisersorthenextyearandahal.Duringthistimethedogswilllearntheroutinemattersobeingadog.Teybecomeacquaintedwithahomeaamilyotherpetsyardsside-walksstairssquirrelstrafcyounameit.Atabout16monthsthepuppyraisersmustreturntheirchargestoSoutheasternGuideDogsatearuleventthatisas-suagedbyacelebrationthatacknowledgesthegravityothedogsdestinyandthentheyspendtheirnextourtosixmonthsbeingtrainedoncampus.Teywilllearnalexiconoover40commandsrangingromdirectionalsignalslikeorwardtothingsasarcaneasndmykeys.Teywillalsohaveassessmentstomeasurethingsliketheirsocialtolerancewilltheyletyouddlewiththeirearsormesswiththeirteethandphysicalsensitiv-itydoestheharnesschangethewaythedogbehavesandattentivenessaretheydistractedbythepresenceootherdogs.Butperhapsmostimportantoallthisiswhentheylearnintelligentdisobe-dience.Mosthighlytraineddogsareexpectedtoollowordersandalthoughguidedogswillcertainlyollowordersthatmakesensetheymustalsobeabletoknowwhentooverrideacommand.Iavisuallyimpairedhandleriswalkingdownaamiliarsidewalkorexampleandanewpotholeorotherdangersuddenlyap-pearstheguidedogmustknowtomoveinrontothehandlerandsitblockingtheirprogress.Wantingtoseeormyseltheac-complishmentsotheseyoungcaninestudentsIdecidetotakeadvantageoSoutheasternsmanyvolunteerprogramstodosomedogwalking.Otheropportu-nitiesincludesigninguporhalanhoursworthopuppyhuggingbecomingapuppyraiserorevenapplyingtoborrowlikelibrarybookspuppiesoradultdogsortheweekend.IhaveaneighborwhoeelsaboutLabradorsroughlythewaymostpeopleeelaboutoxygensotogetherthetwoousdrivetoPalmettoandcheckourselvesoutadog.opppmpsuhpmcdcmdmhdhlmh250puppbchycmpu.thpJcqugvywhvhpuppmbh10wkcuddlmhch.JenniferVare OursisKamuscularyellowLabwhoseskulliswideandthickandheart-shapedlikeavipers.Avolunteeramiliar-izesuswiththerulesamongthemwemustwalkwiththedogtoourlewemustcarryabusybagtocleanupanyexcretionsandthesolecommandweareallowedtogiveissit.Aerabout10eetoourwalkhoweverIrealizethatIwillneedamuchlargerandmoredrill-sergeantyvocabularytodealwithK.TerstcommandIdliketoutterisDonotpullontheleashsohardthatityanksmyneighboroutoherip-ops.AnotherisStopnoshingonthoseowers.AndlaterproprietyurgesmetosayCouldyounotlickyourselthereorquitesolongandwithquitesomuchslobberingjoyTepullingiswhatstartlesmemost.KislikeanIditarodsleddogwithroadragestrainingagainsttheleashsohardthatthesufocatingconstrictionothecollarmakeshisbreathinglaboredandwheezylikeanoldrerigerator.Tepres-sureissointensethatImarvelthathedoesntpassoutromasphyxiationoryankmyarmof.IdoadmirehiszealbutIcantimagineourKmakinganunlethalguidedogoranyoneandIsaysotothevolunteerswhenwereturnhim.AndinactnoteverydogatSouth-easternisslatedtobecomeaguidedog.Tosethatarentdeemedsuitableorbeingmatchedwithavisuallyimpairedhandleritheyhavealizarddistrac-tionsayoraretooolactorilyorientedorlikeourKtheyhaveamedievaltorturersenthusiasmorseparatinglimbsrombodiescaninsteadtakeupserviceasatherapydogoraveteranwithPSDorperhapsasasniferorarsonorambas-sadordog.Somedogsarentrightoranyotheseroleshoweverandinthatcasetheyareslatedoradoption.Firstdibsgototheirpuppyraiserthenthedogismadeavailabletothepublic.Teverybestdogsaredestinedtobecomebreeders.Itsameasureohowloytheguidedogcallingisthatouto10dogsschooledatSoutheasterntherewillbeonebreederItsameasureofhowloftytheguidedogcallingisthatoutof10dogsschooledatSoutheasternonlyfourwillpasseveryhurdletobecomeguidedogs.kimlongstreetDogstreetPetPhotograPhy twocareer-changedogsthreethatgotoadoptionandonlyourthatwillpasseveryhurdletobecomeguidedogs.Allacrossthecountrymenandwomenareleadinglivesoindependenceandpurposethankstotheseastonishingdogs.Testoriesotheimpacttheyhaveareinspiringandlegion.AormerministerwholosthisvisionandsayshemovedintoassistedlivinginFloridajustwaitingtodienowhashisownplaceandtravelsthecountrygivingmoti-vationaltalks.AretiredArmyofcerwholosthersighttoavirusshecontractedinIraqbecamesodepressedthatshereusedtogooutothehousebutthankstoherblackLabGeorgeshenowracessailboatsinampaBayhikesinPeruandcompetesintriathlons.TenthereisMikeJernigan.AMarinewholostbothhiseyesandalmosthalhiscraniuminIraqJerniganhad30surger-ieshiswielehimhewassowrackedwithPSDanddepressionthathesayshedrankahoJohnnyWalkeradayandbasicallytookoallo2006.TenheheardaboutSoutheastern.JernigansayshisdogBrittaniinspiredhimtogobacktoschool.HegraduatedromUSFremarriedandnowworksoranonprotorwarveteransinDallas.Andhecountshighamonghisaccom-plishmentshelpingtoestablishSouth-easternspioneeringPawsorPatriotsinitiativehelpingotherveteransreclaimtheirlives.Allthehandlershaveboundlessloveandgratitudeorthedogthatledthemoutodarkness.AsadmissionsdirectorWilburntoldmeIIweregivenachancetohaveasurgerythatcouldtotallyrestoremysightbutwouldrequiremetogiveupmydogitwouldbenocontest.Iwouldnotgetthesurgery.IdkeepCarson.ContributingeditorAdamDaviesjustcompletedhissecondappointmentaswriter-in-residenceatNewCollegeofFloridaheswonanumberofawardsforstoriesforthismagazineincludingforBestFeaturefromtheSouthFloridaSocietyofProfessionalJournalistsin2013and2014.abvguddsuslwlkhssvysuspamisldbusydwwtp.oppstwchlduddwhchppulpuppyhuswhchhlpsclzhds.JenniferVare NameGibsonHomeSarasotaFloridaAge8weeksEducationPreschoolerSoutheasternGuideDogsProfessionGuidedoginabouttwoyearsStudiesBehavior101Command.1FavoriteActivityStandingstretchingcirclingthensleepingHobbiesStillunderdevelopmentcheckmeinsixmonthsAttributesCalmintelligenceeagernesstolearnDestinyToserve.Toenable.Todelight.Youdneverguessitnowlookingatthislittleballoreneticurthathisdestinyistogrowuptobecomealie-afrminghero.Butwithyourhelpthatsexactlywhatcanhappen.ThankyouGibson.Thegitsyouwillgivesomedayarebeyondmeasureandwillbeexactlywhatonedeservingpersonneedstolivethriveandachievetheirullestpotential.FindouthowyoucanhelpatGuideDogs.org