Rick Holden: 30 Years and Going Strong
Rick Holden wears out about three pairs of shoes per year training dogs, students, and young trainers at Southeastern Guide Dogs. As he reaches a milestone, his 30-year anniversary, that’s 90 pairs of shoes, dog-eared and dirtied on behalf of our mission.
Southeastern Guide Dogs was only five years young when Rick came aboard on April 1, 1987. He’d already trained sentry dogs for the Air Force, including a stint in Vietnam. He’d trained law enforcement dogs for the sheriff’s department. When he phoned the first CEO of Southeastern Guide Dogs and asked if they needed a hand, he instinctively sought a pathway to peace.
And it was no coincidence that Rick found Southeastern Guide Dogs, after growing up with a visually impaired mother whose dependency and lack of mobility often left her homebound. “I really like watching the people be able to be independent,” he says. “That elation…that smile…whatever look they get when they first walk freely and safely by themselves with the aid of a guide dog. That’s the payoff. That’s the reward in life, seeing that firsthand.”
Because of Rick’s talents as a canine expert, trainer-of-trainers, and loyal-for-life staff member, Southeastern Guide Dogs is a better place. Join us in congratulating Rick for 30 years of a dog-gone-amazing career!