Meet Vicky, a Southeastern Guide Dogs Puppy Raiser

A woman smiles with two dogs

Vicky poses with puppies in training Zinger and Ryder at her home.

Raising a puppy is one of many rewarding volunteer experiences offered at Southeastern Guide Dogs, and we are always looking for people who have the heart, patience, and commitment to give to an extraordinary puppy.

People like Vicky Jenkins-Cox, a puppy raiser in Parrish, Florida.

It Takes a Neighborhood

Vicky is the proud raiser of six puppies. She also volunteers as an area coordinator, leading other puppy raisers in her group near her home in Parrish, Florida. “My neighborhood is very involved with Southeastern Guide Dogs,” she says. “There are volunteers, puppy raisers, and breeder hosts living all around me.” It was her neighborhood that first led Vicky to volunteer when she joined fellow neighbors at one of our Walkathons and listened to a presentation about puppy raising. At that time, she had too many personal dogs to become a puppy raiser. Then sadly, that same year Vicky’s husband of 30 years and her beloved Lab both passed away.

A Life with Purpose

“Suddenly I was without my husband and my dog,” Vicky says. “Being a puppy raiser gave me a purpose in life.” Then just a few years later, her neighborhood brought her something else unexpected—her new husband, who was also a widow and a dog lover. Now they are each raising puppies Zinger and Ryder as part of the North River Puppy Raiser group.

It’s About the Mission

“For me, it’s about the mission,” Vicky says. “It has to speak to your heart.” When she’s heard alumni from Southeastern Guide Dogs share about how a guide dog or service dog changed their life, those stories inspire her to continue to raise more puppies. “I like the challenges and rewards of teaching each puppy,” she says. “And when you bring them everywhere with you, you get to tell people about Southeastern Guide Dogs and share the mission through an adorable puppy.”

We Need You!

Vicky is one of about 300 puppy raisers in seven states, and we can’t fulfill our mission without them. Our puppy raisers teach house manners and basic obedience before returning puppies to our campus for formal training. Volunteers meet twice a month with their puppy raiser group to give pups a strong foundation and plenty of social experiences, and puppy raisers make new friends along the way.

We need more puppy raisers! If you’re interested in volunteering, we’ll train you. Learn more or apply today!

Posted on June 28, 2019 | Category: Blog, Puppy Raisers