They Said “Yes!” Host Families for Dogs-in-Training

When Southeastern Guide Dogs had to adjust its operations due to the pandemic in March 2020, we placed over 115 dogs-in-training into the homes of trainers, staff members, and pre-screened volunteers, including about 90 host families. These families opened their hearts and homes to give our dogs an abundance of love, affection, playtime, and exercise.


Beth and Curtis Nothstine had a motto for COVID-19: survive and thrive. Beth explains, “What better way to thrive than to think perhaps—in a very small way—we helped Southeastern Guide Dogs stay strong to their mission?”

For the past year, the couple had hosted dogs for weekend getaways and volunteered in our canine fitness program. “We were just about ready to start working in the new pool for canine conditioning when the coronavirus struck,” Beth says.

And that’s when they brought home Quirt, a loveable, smart golden retriever who spent 44 days with the couple. “We were Quirt’s COVID-19 home,” Curtis says. Their goal: give him a warm, loving environment.

Mission accomplished!

Why Volunteer?

While enjoying Quirt’s stay, the Nothstines never lost sight of his purpose. Somewhere, someone was feeling far more lonely and anxious than we can ever imagine,” Beth explains, referring to people whose classes were delayed because of the shutdowns. “They thought they were within weeks of getting a guide dog and now…where is this precious dog? Is he all right? Well, he came to us. Southeastern Guide Dogs trusted us to care for Quirt.”

Thank You, Volunteers!

We appreciate Beth, Curtis, and the many other generous volunteers who hosted our dogs. Because of their kindness, Quirt and his classmates can continue their journey to graduation and beyond.

Posted on June 15, 2020 | Category: Blog