Where freedom and independence grow.
Visitors can easily access our 33-acre campus nestled just off I-275 in Palmetto, Florida.
Our puppies are born and train here; our students live and learn here. We strive to make our campus a welcoming place where dogs and humans alike sense a caring atmosphere and a spirit of excellence.
Just inside the front gate lies the intersection of Independence Drive and Freedom Way, bordered by a series of pathways known as the Freedom Walk. On most days, visually impaired students and their new guide dogs can be seen practicing on this outdoor classroom, learning to work and walk together. Students encounter crosswalks and man-made obstacles on our Freedom Walk as they learn to trust their dogs to guide them with confidence.
Thanks to the generosity of our community of supporters, we have recently updated our campus with several new facilities, poised to serve the next generations of students and graduates.
About Our Campus
Our Palmetto campus is our center of operations, where puppies and people are transformed all year round. Features of our campus include:
- Our state-of-the-art Margaret and Isaac Barpal Veterinary Center, where our veterinary staff provide health care for our puppies and dogs in training.
- Our “Freshman Dorm,” the Keith G. Hirst Canine Assessment Center, where dogs returning from volunteer puppy raiser homes are assessed for health, temperament, and suitability for guide work.
- Our clean, well-ventilated breeding and puppy kennel, where healthy and happy puppies are born and cared for.
- Our puppy playground, where green spaces and play equipment help puppies to get plenty of exercise and fun.
- The training kennel exercise yard, where dogs in training run and play, eventually learning to obey over 40 commands.
- Our student housing and administrative building, where students live with their new dogs for 26 days of training.
- The lovely Freedom Walk garden with its Circle of Friends centerpiece, where landscaped beauty, shade trees, and garden benches welcome all.
- Our contemplative Dog Memorial Garden and Rainbow Bridge, located on the southwest corner of campus. This place of remembrance reminds us of the faithful dogs who served so willingly.
- Our Freedom Courtyard, nestled beneath majestic oaks, which serves as a training ground for students, houses commemorative bricks purchased by our supporters, and boasts an impressive pavilion for gatherings, meetings or just quiet contemplation, and
- Our Veterans Courtyard, which sits adjacent to our unique gift shop full of goodies, is flanked by flags representing each branch – Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force – and one day will be paved entirely with engraved bricks, saluting heroes far and wide.
- 33-acre campus featuring a park-like setting, three kennels, nine student rooms, a full-service cafeteria, a gift shop, and an administrative facility in Palmetto, Florida.
- The Palmetto Campus features a state-of-the-art Veterinary Center and Canine Assessment Center.
- Freedom Walk features nearly a mile and a half of paved walkways and an obstacle course for guide dog training.