Suzanne & Dallas Branch
Words cannot begin to describe the overwhelming emotions of astonishment, pride and love Dallas and I felt during our amazing tour of Southeastern Guide Dogs in October. At every turn, there was something we experienced that I had only seen in my wildest dreams for the school. Everywhere we looked, there were design elements and amenities that purposefully and intentionally supported and impacted the school’s mission. It was incredibly powerful to see and experience. Every building and space within each building is carefully crafted and designed for what today’s needs are but also in anticipation of future needs, technological advances and school growth. This is done in a way that appears to be seamless and without wasted or underutilized space. It is truly a world class guide dog school as evidenced by the financial health and well being of the school as well as the positive energy and joy exuded in a palpable way by every employee and volunteer we encountered.
The dogs in the new "Residence Halls" were relaxed, happy and quiet. The puppies and mother dogs were resting comfortably on radiant heated flooring in the Puppy Academy. The genetic testing machines were whirring. The veterinarians were seeing patients from Graduates and Puppy Raisers as well as in-program dogs. The Student Center, while between classes, was like any nice business hotel, complete with kitchenette and a furniture piece which was a large dog crate disguised as a dresser. The Training Center was readying to host a group event and all the beautiful vans gleamed in the driveway. Plus we had lunch in the lovely Dining Hall prepared by Chef Rob (a 10-year employee) who prepares a gourmet meal daily for all staff and students. When we were there, we enjoyed a comfort meal of tomato bisque and 4-cheese grilled cheese sandwiches (yum)!
There are all new buildings at the SEGD campus! Not one building is left standing from the time that I had previously visited the school a number of years ago. And every building was completely funded and paid for PRIOR to construction.
I know. I know. I'm going on and on. But I cannot help it! SEGD has always been a very inspiring place which transforms lives. And what we experienced on our tour was nothing short of transformative!
Please help us to reach our ambitious Walkathon goal of $10,000! No donation is too small (or too large!).
With love and kisses,
Suzanne, Dallas, Jeannie and Dakota
(And former guide dog puppies raised by us - Claire, Kimball, Ellie, Babe, Kay, Brinklee and Mary Jo)