EXTRAORDINARY DOGS, TRANSFORMING LIVES
Southeastern Guide Dogs transforms lives by creating and nurturing extraordinary partnerships between people and dogs. A nonprofit with a national reach, we train dogs of the highest pedigree for people who are blind and for veterans, providing our premier dogs and lifetime services at no cost.
About Southeastern Guide Dogs
Southeastern Guide Dogs transforms lives by creating and nurturing extraordinary partnerships between people and dogs. Employing the latest in canine development and behavior research, the national organization trains dogs of the highest pedigree for people who are blind and for veterans.
All of Southeastern Guide Dogs’ services – which include selective breeding and expert dog training; comprehensive on-campus student instruction; and lifetime alumni follow-up – are provided at no cost to the recipients. The charity relies 100% on private donations and receives no government funding.
Southeastern Guide Dogs has the distinction of being dually accredited by the two premier, global accreditation bodies: The International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.
Accreditations and endorsements from these premier organizations speak volumes:
- International Guide Dog Federation – Accredited – Adhering to and exceeding world benchmarks of the highest quality standards.
- Assistance Dogs International – Accredited – Adhering to and exceeding standards of excellence in all areas of assistance dog acquisition, training, and partnership.
- Charity Navigator – Four Stars – Achieving the highest possible rating based on financial health, accountability, and transparency.
- Guide Star – Platinum Seal of Transparency – Achieving a high level of transparency based on data and disclosure.
- America’s Best Charities – Best in America Seal of Excellence – Awarded to charitable organizations that meet the highest standards of public accountability, program efficiency, and cost effectiveness.
- GreatNonprofits – Top-Rated – Recognized by the only people’s choice award where volunteers, donors, and people served by nonprofits share stories of inspiration to earn this coveted award.
- Better Business Bureau – Accredited Charity – Meeting the highest standards in governance, finances, fundraising, information, and effectiveness measurement.
About our Campus
When our school was founded in 1982, our campus was little more than a rented house in a cow pasture in rural Palmetto, Florida. Today, our 33 scenic acres have expanded to include state-of-the-art facilities near the busy freeways of I-75 and I-275. Facilities include the Barpal-Hirst Student Center, Keith G. Hirst Canine Assessment Center, Grant and Shirle Herron Puppy Academy & Gift Shop, Barpal Veterinary Center, and under construction, our new Guide Dog University training facilities.
Our multiple landscaped courtyards and Freedom Walk serve as outdoor classrooms, where our dogs and students train. We also maintain a small classroom in Bradenton, Florida, known as our downtown training center, or DTC.
The Southeastern Guide Dogs Creed
We believe people with visual impairments and veterans with disabilities deserve hope, confidence, and independence. Our mission is to transform lives by creating and nurturing extraordinary partnerships between people and dogs.
Because of our deep and heartfelt commitment to our students and alumni, our vision is to be the best service dog school in the world. And what makes us different is that we believe it’s possible.
We believe our cutting-edge genetics and reproduction work can weave together the delicacies of art with the data of science to create healthier, smarter dogs with hearts of gold.
We believe our innovative early education and puppy raising protocols can provide a wealth of positive, real-life experiences to create dogs that love people and love to learn.
We believe our pioneering training practices, certified by the two most prestigious international accreditation bodies, can create the finest service dogs in the world.
We believe our culture of excellence—fueled by the dedication of our staff and volunteers and the generosity of our donors—will propel us forward to be the best so our students and alumni can be their best. They deserve our utmost efforts to change the world, one dog at a time.
What people are saying…
“I just want to get out and enjoy the world around me without having to worry. Now that I have Norman, I have nothing to worry about.”Ciara Hall with guide Norman