“When I grow up, I want to be …”

Yellow Lab puppy walks confidently in a make shift harness. | Puppy Career Paths

From day one, our puppies are participating in purposeful play, and being gently handled to prepare them for their future work.

“A fireman. A ballerina. An astronaut. A movie star.” Ask a small child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and these are the favorite answers. If our dogs could talk, they might be having the same conversations. And at Southeastern Guide Dogs, our elite puppies have fantastic careers in store!

Our guide dogs, service dogs, facility therapy dogs, breeder dogs, and others transform the lives of our students and graduates. And each one starts as a puppy! Most of our dogs specialize in one of the following career paths:

  • Guide dogs: After about six months of formal harness training plus 20 days of student-handler training, dogs that graduate as guide dogs provide independence and confidence to people with visual impairments.
  • Service dogs: After about six months of formal training plus 12 days of student-handler training, dogs that graduate as service dogs provide independence and confidence to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Facility therapy dogs: Dogs that are hand-selected for this career live with military staff members and provide therapeutic services to veterans and families being treated in military medical facilities across the nation.
  • Genetics and reproduction: Dogs that are hand-selected as breeders preserve the quality and diversity of the lines through selective breeding, living with volunteer host families.
  • Gifted Canines:
    Emotional support dogs: These dogs provide therapeutic comfort to veterans with disabilities.
    Canine Connection dogs: These gentle dogs become companions for youth with visual impairments, building a bridge to a future guide dog.
    Gold Star family dogs: Recognizing the sacrifices made when a military family member dies in service to the nation, Southeastern Guide Dogs offers well behaved, loving companion dogs to Gold Star families in need.
    Public service dogs: Dogs with strong sniffing drives may be donated to agencies and serve in law enforcement careers such as bomb, arson, firearms, and drug detection, and for fish and wildlife agencies. The agency’s handler then refines the dog’s training for their chosen mission.
    Ambassador dogs: Dogs that are hand-selected as ambassadors are adopted by active volunteers, enabling outreach and education to further the Southeastern Guide Dogs mission.

One thing is for sure, all of our puppies grow up to be superheroes!

Posted on April 11, 2017 | Category: Blog