For blind people, seeing eye dogs are their eyes to help them do tasks that the rest of us take for granted. Picking up something that fell on the floor. Avoiding a car about to cross the crosswalk. Not running into aisles and displays in the store. Finding a seat in a restaurant. Finding the door just to walk into a store. Seeing eye dogs are truly a companion in a world of darkness. There are many, many blind people who want and need seeing eye dogs, including those in our community, but cannot get one because there are not enough seeing eye dogs raised each year.
Students from the Bowmar Robotics team worked to help with this problem. They organized a “Puppy Training Boot Camp” to help inform our community about Gallant Hearts, a local non-profit seeing-eye dog training organization. Gallant Hearts raises seeing-eye dogs for the blind, and they provide them free of charge. However, it takes a lot of money to raise and train a seeing-eye dog.
There are two effective ways our community can help. First, sign up for a corporate donation program such as AmazonSmile and Kroger Community Rewards. These programs do not cost us, the customer, anything, but they are a great source of funds. Second, be a puppy training family. Seeing-eye dogs start out life as puppies in training. Gallant Hearts will pay for their food and veterinarian care. All you need to do as a family is to love and care for the puppy and help socialize them so they get used to going to lots of different environments. After 18 months you have to give up the puppy so that the puppy can be trained and become a seeing-eye dog for a blind person in need.
The Puppy Training Boot Camp was held at PetSense last Saturday. We want to thank Rhonda Henley at PetSense, Becky Floyd of Gallant Hearts, May (Becky’s guide dog), and Lindsey Jordan of Vicksburg Dog Obedience Classes, and all the people who helped to put it on, as well as all of the people who signed up for the community rewards programs.
If you would like to donate, the links for the corporate donation programs are: http://smile.amazon.com/ and https://www.kroger.com/account/enrollCommunityRewardsNow. You can also donate directly to Gallant Hearts by visiting http://gallanthearts.org/contact-gallant-hearts/. Your support will truly help someone in need.
Gallant Hearts is a non-profit charity that has helped countless blind people have a companion who helps them have a new window into the world we take for granted. Helping Gallant Hearts will help numerous blind people feel and be more able. Please donate today and consider being a puppy training family!