The Lions Club of La-Grange gathered for their usual meeting on Tuesday, September 20, but this time, they had a special guest with exciting news. A past District Governor of the Lions Club, Georgia Taylor, knows the strong partnership the Lions Club has with Southeastern Guide Dogs, so she travelled three hours to LaGrange to tell club members about their campus updates in Palmetto, Florida.
Southeastern Guide Dogs is regarded as one of the nation’s top service dog providers. Their facilities, including everything from kennels to veterinary hospitals, have another special feature: rooms for people to stay in while they receive their own training before getting a service dog. “Our dogs have learned over 40 commands, so students must learn, too… They gain confidence navigating streets, stairs, elevators, malls, buses, airports, beaches, and more,” says Southeastern. This 26day program gives those who need service dogs an opportunity to stay on campus and receive professional training so they can master how to work with their dog.
Their service dogs, primarily Labradors and Golbradors (Labrador and Golden Retriever Mixes), supply services for Southeastern’s Paws for Independence and Paws for Patriots programs. Paws for Independence allows dogs to work with people who battle blindness by giving them the training, support, and service dog they need to feel independent. Paws for Patriots provide our impaired heroes with guide dogs that offer therapy for those battling lifelong wounds – both physical and mental.
Many people give donations and provide sponsorships for Southeastern’s cause. Southeastern takes donations of any amount, recognizing that each gift (no matter how big or small) can go to an area in need. However, certain sponsorships allow donors to receive photos and updates on the dog and/or person they are sponsoring. $1,000 helps sponsor the care and food for a dog during training. $5,000 helps sponsor a veteran during his/her campus or inhome training. $25,000 helps sponsor a guide dog, veteran service dog, or facility therapy dog team for life.
“We Serve”: this is the Lions Club’s motto. Club members in LaGrange, Georgia have found a way to serve others all across the nation by partnering with an organization such as Southeastern Guide Dogs, whose mission is just the same.
Peyton Hanners Staff Writer