Southeastern Guide Dogs opens its campus five days a week for puppy huggers and dog walkers, but Saturday is a great opportunity to learn all about Southeastern and our superb dogs because it is Open House!
You may be asking how is Open House different from any other time you can come to the Palmetto campus. Well, there are a number of activities going on Dec. 8 that don’t normally occur. Volunteers will be leading guided tours, filling guests in on the history and inner workings of Southeastern. While readers of this column have gotten an inside look at what Southeastern does, the tour will give you a chance to put it all together and see the training grounds and kennels for yourself. You’ll also get the chance to interact with the adorable bundles of velvety fur in the Puppy Kennel and the uber-intelligent dogs-in-training in the Training Kennel.
The other exciting opportunity at Open House is the chance to literally walk in a visually impaired person’s shoes. Okay, well not literally their shoes, but certainly their footsteps. You will be given blacked-out sunglasses, some short instructions from the trainers, a harness handle attached to a trained guide and off you go on your blindfold walk. The guide dog will do his or her job of keeping you firmly in the center of the path while you tentatively walk along the Freedom Trail – the same path Southeastern’s students take early in their training.
Once you have experienced what it is like to trust a guide dog with your safe travel, you’ll have the opportunity to speak with some of the graduates of Southeastern’s programs. They will share the impact their guide dog has had on their life.
Staff members will also be in attendance so you can also learn all about the volunteer opportunities on campus and beyond.
And since this is our Holiday Open House, we have a very special guest — Santa will be here, so be sure to bring your wish list (assuming that you have been good this year.)
After the tour, blindfold walk, chatting with the graduates, and meeting Santa, you probably will have worked up an appetite, so then you’ll have to head over to the grill and get one of Chef Rob’s hot dogs! And speaking of eating, did you know that $20 will cover approximately 20 meals for one of Southeastern’s guide dogs-in-training?
We hope you will make your way to Palmetto this weekend and check out the campus and learn all about guide dogs. Oh, and did I mention there will be PUPPIES?!
Southeastern Guide Dogs Holiday Open House
Saturday, December 8, 2012
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
4210 77th Street East, Palmetto, FL
All ages are welcome and encouraged to attend!
Admission is free, but donations are always welcome!